This week, two associates of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani were abruptly arrested on charges of a plot to violate federal campaign finance laws, but the chips aren’t done falling. Now, ABC is reporting that federal authorities in New York have placed the business relationship between Giuliani and those arrested associates under a criminal investigation. In a stunning twist of fate — the investigation is being led in part by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), which Giuliani himself led at one point before serving as mayor of New York. Oh, how the tables have turned.
The two Giuliani associates in question include Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who — among other things — helped transmit some $1 million from a Russian businessman to U.S. political candidates. They also helped connect Giuliani with figures like former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who former Vice President Joe Biden helped pressure out when in office as part of what the president’s team alleges was a corrupt scheme, although there’s no evidence for this.
Giuliani has previously called Fruman and Parnas his clients. Parnas apparently “told people he paid RUDY GIULIANI hundreds of thousands of dollars to work for his firm, Fraud Guarantee,” in the description of reporter Kenneth Vogel. Could the name of the company be more on the nose? Apparently, it’s in theory supposed to have been a fraud protection business. Allegedly, Giuliani provided “legal and business” advice to Parnas. Making the situation even more illustrious, Fruman had a curiously named business too, owning a beach club called — wait for it — Mafia Rave. Yes, really.
This week, shortly before the two Soviet-born but now U.S. citizen businessmen were arrested, Giuliani met them for lunch. Separately, he told reporter Elaina Plott that he was going to fly to Vienna this week, which is also where Parnas and Fruman were going on a one-way flight when they were apprehended Wednesday at Dulles International Airport outside D.C. Apparently, the case was so urgent that when they learned the men would be traveling overseas and might end up out of reach of the legal system, authorities moved up their timetable and went ahead and took the men into custody.
Giuliani claimed that although his two arrested associates’ planned trip to Vienna was “related to their business,” he’d only be meeting with them when they came back — which isn’t exactly plausible.
The SDNY office handling the investigation into this mess is the same one that brought forward criminal charges against Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen that helped land him a currently ongoing three year prison sentence for crimes including his role in a hush money scheme targeting women with whom Trump had affairs. In other words, the office has already abundantly proven that they’re not messing around.
In the Ukraine scandal, there’s also the ongoing formal impeachment inquiry from House Democrats, who have subpoenaed Giuliani, Fruman, Parnas, and Trump administration officials. This Friday, they’re hearing from former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who Trump ousted after she was alleged to have gotten in the way of their push for dirt.
Featured Image via screenshot