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U.S. Prosecutors Say Giuliani Ally Parnas Received $1 Million Payment From Ukraine Oligarch

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U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani (right) with Soviet-born businessman Lev Parnas at the funeral of President George Bush in Washington in 2018.

U.S. prosecutors said in court on December 17 that Lev Parnas, an associate of U.S. President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, received a $1 million payment from a lawyer for Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash.

Prosecutors have said that Parnas should have his bail revoked because he understated his income and assets, including the payment from Firtash’s attorney when negotiating his conditional release.

Parnas has denied hiding the payment.

The Ukraine-born U.S. citizen, who has been charged with campaign-finance violations, conspiracy, and making false statements, was released on bail after his arrest in October and has been under house arrest in Florida.

Prosecutors last week asked a U.S. district judge in New York to revoke Parnas's bail. They specifically mentioned a $1 million payment he had received from an account in Russia in September, a month before he was indicted.

The account was in the name of his wife, Svetlana Parnas.

On December 17, U.S. Attorney Rebekah Donaleski said the payment came from Firtash through his lawyer. Donaleski added that it was not plausible the payment was a loan to Parnas's wife, as Parnas had said.

Firtash, who made his fortune selling natural gas to Ukraine as well as in the chemical fertilizer business, is fighting extradition from Austria to the United States on corruption charges.

Parnas and his indicted business partner, Belarusian-born U.S. citizen Igor Fruman, are close associates of Giuliani.

The two business partners have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Parnas, Fruman, and Giuliani have reportedly been involved in back-channel meetings with current and former Ukrainian officials regarding investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and Democratic party activities in the 2016 presidential election.

In the indictment, the pair were also charged with working on behalf of one or more Ukrainian officials in their attempt to remove then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

One of Ukraine's wealthiest men, Firtash has been resisting extradition since his 2014 arrest in Vienna.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP
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