Accessibility links

Breaking News

U.S. Prosecutors Say Giuliani Ally Parnas Did Not Disclose $1 Million From Russia

Lev Parnas arrives for his arraignment on October 23.
Lev Parnas arrives for his arraignment on October 23.

U.S. federal prosecutors this week asked a judge to put an associate of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, back in jail while he awaits trial, saying he understated his income and assets.

Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-born U.S. citizen, had not disclosed receiving $1 million from an account in Russia in September, a month before he was charged with campaign-finance violations, conspiracy, making false statements, and falsifying records, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors on December 11 said Parnas had three times disclosed different versions of his finances, including having received $200,000 -- not the $50,000 he claimed -- for his work on the legal team of Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash, who is fighting extradition from Austria to the United States on corruption charges.

In filing their motion in Manhattan federal court, prosecutors said Parnas lied about his wealth when he negotiated his bail and that he poses an “extreme risk of flight.”

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 U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and Democratic party activities in the 2016 presidential election.

Parnas was released on bail after his arrest in October at Dulles International Airport near Washington as he and Fruman were getting ready to board a plane with one-way tickets to Vienna.

The money from Russia was received in September, the same month Parnas and Fruman received subpoenas from congressional committees who were conducting an impeachment inquiry into Trump and his interactions with Ukraine.

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.

Joseph Bondy, a lawyer for Parnas, told Reuters he would respond to the prosecutors in a court filing.

With reporting by Bloomberg and Reuters
  • 16x9 Image


    RFE/RL journalists report the news in 27 languages in 23 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. We provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.