The two associates of Rudy Giuliani who were arrested on charges related to the ongoing Trump impeachment inquiry, also tried to get a retail marijuana license in Nevada and donated to two candidates for state office in the hopes of gaining influence, federal prosecutors have alleged.
A newly unsealed indictment accuses Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman of conspiring with an unnamed foreign national to get the license and start a recreational cannabis business.
The men had key roles in Giuliani’s efforts to launch a Ukrainian corruption investigation against former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
Despite Giuliani not being an official U.S. diplomat, President Trump had ordered the former New York City mayor to create a scandal around the debunked conspiracy theory.
Federal prosecutors say the foreign national identified in the
indictment funded their business and lobbying efforts while remaining
The foreign national also funded donations to state and federal political candidates “to facilitate acquisitions of retail marijuana licenses,” the indictment states.
According to the indictment, Parnas, Fruman and two other defendants – identified as David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin – met with the foreign national in Las Vegas in September 2018 to talk about the venture.
While in Las Vegas, Parnas, Fruman and Kukushkin attended a fundraiser for a state candidate, identified only as “Candidate-1.”
The three attended a campaign rally for the candidate on Oct. 20, where they met a second Nevada political candidate, identified as “Candidate-2.”
Prosecutors say after the rally, donations of $10,000 were made to each candidate in Fruman’s name, though the money actually came from the foreign national.
The contributions described in the indictment match state campaign finance records showing an Igor Fruman gave $10,000 to both Adam Laxalt and Wes Duncan, who ran for governor and attorney general, respectively.
“[Fruman] came to a Las Vegas fundraiser,” Andy Matthews, a spokesman for Adam Laxalt, said in an email. “Adam doesn’t know the man.”
Duncan said he returned the contribution upon learning about the charges.
was made aware of the story about the indictment this morning and
immediately had the treasurer from my AG campaign refund Mr. Fruman’s
contribution,” Duncan said in a statement provided to News 3. “I had no
idea Mr. Fruman was acting unlawfully.”
According to the indictment, the application for a marijuana license missed a necessary deadline, and while they discussed making more donations to one of the candidates, the marijuana business never materialized.
Parnas and Fruman were arrested at Dulles International Airport on Wednesday attempting to leave the U.S., federal prosecutors said at a press conference Friday. They also face accusations they tried to lobby a U.S. member of Congress to remove the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.