Prosecutors indict Russian Trump donors on campaign finance charges

US President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has coffee with Ukrainian American businessman Lev Parnas at the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC

Two Giuliani associates linked to Ukraine investigations indicted on campaign finance charges

The charges against the men suggest Giuliani's push on Ukraine and President Donald Trump's receptiveness to it had ties to an illegal effort to influence United States politics and policy using foreign funds.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, associates of Rudy Giuliani, were arrested Wednesday trying to board an worldwide flight with one-way tickets at Dulles global Airport in Virginia, according to Geoffrey Berman, the USA attorney in Manhattan.

Congress had previously asked the two men to voluntarily provide the information. That happened about the same time that Parnas and Fruman committed to raising more than $20,000 for the politician.

Parnas and Fruman are central to an ongoing impeachment inquiry against Trump.

The men were arrested - reportedly attempting to flee the country - on campaign finance charges.

Shortly after the announcement, the Democratic House committees leading the impeachment inquiry into President Trump announced they have subpoenaed Parnas and Furman.

The indictments are semi-connected to an impeachment investigation by House Democrats trying to determine whether Trump threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine in exchange for action against the Bidens. The two men assisted Giuliani, the president's personal attorney, in his efforts to dig up dirt on Trump's political opponents in Ukraine.

America First Action said the $325,000 contribution would remain in a separate account while the court cases play out. "We take our legal obligations seriously and scrupulously comply with the law and any suggestion otherwise is false".

Prosecutors charge that the two men falsely claimed the contributions came from GEP, which was described as a liquefied natural gas business.

But according to a lawsuit, the corporation wasn't the true source of the money.

Two foreign-born businessmen linked to efforts by President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani to get Ukraine to investigate 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden have been arrested on charges of violating USA campaign finance laws.

The Russian is not named but identified in court documents as a businessman.

The indictment also alleges Parnas and Fruman, with two other named defendants, sought to use foreign money to buy influence to help an abortive business venture to grow recreational marijuana; the scheme collapsed when they failed to apply for a business license on time. Rick Scott (R-FL), the National Republican Congressional Committee, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), according to the WSJ. Far afield from their efforts to influence USA politicians to benefit Ukrainian politicians and interests, they were also willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to gain a foothold in the fledgling US recreational marijuana trade.

Parnas and Fruman also personally donated the legal maximum amount to Sessions campaign and personally met with him in May - the same month Parnas posted about meeting with Donald Trump Jr. for breakfast.

The men, Ukrainian-born Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, originally from Belarus, have been charged with conspiring to circumvent federal laws against foreign interference by allegedly engaging in a scheme to funnel foreign money to candidates for state and federal offices. Campaigns must also publicly report the sources and details of contributions made in federal elections.

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