A federal judge in Florida has ruled in a civil lawsuit to compel an associate of U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to be questioned under oath regarding contributions to Republican politicians and causes that were allegedly fraudulent.
The October 29 ruling concerns efforts to recover about $510,000 from Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-born businessman who this month was indicted on campaign-finance violations in a criminal case with three other men, all of whom have pleaded not guilty.
The civil action, brought on by a family trust in New York, is trying to get an unpaid loan worth $350,000 from Parnas, money that was supposed to be used to produce a Hollywood film that never got made.
U.S. District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks also let the Pues Family Trust IRS pursue the money via donations that Parnas allegedly made to a pro-Trump political action committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and a campaign committee for former Texas Republican Congressman Pete Sessions.
Prosecutors in the criminal case allege that Parnas and associate Igor Fruman, both U.S. citizens, made political donations while lobbying U.S. politicians to oust the then U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
The criminal indictment alleges Parnas and Fruman concealed the source of the donations by “laundering foreign money through bank accounts in the names” of companies and via “straw contributors” rather than in the name of the true source of funds.
They also allegedly helped Giuliani seek incriminating information in Ukraine about Trump’s potential presidential challenger, Joe Biden.
They also figure in the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry into Trump and have been subpoenaed to testify.