Law & the Courts

Federal Prosecutors Seek to Jail Giuliani Associate Lev Parnas after Discovering $1 Million Payment from Russia

Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas and his wife Svetlana (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Federal prosecutors are attempting to reverse the bail of a Rudy Giuliani associate, deeming him a flight risk after discovering that he received a $1 million payment from Russia just a month before he was arrested for violating campaign-finance laws.

Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas, who was working with President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, received a $1 million payment from Russia in September.

“The majority of that money appears to have been used on personal expenses and to purchase a home,” prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan wrote Wednesday in a court filing.

The purpose of the payment is still unclear, but it was sent to Parnas’s wife, Svetlana Parnas, in an apparent “attempt to ensure that any assets were held in Svetlana’s, rather than Lev’s, name,” according to prosecutors.

“Parnas poses an extreme risk of flight, and that risk of flight is only compounded by his continued and troubling misrepresentations to the Pretrial Services office and the Government,” prosecutors wrote.

A month later in October, Parnas and his business partner, Igor Fruman, were charged with illegally funneling foreign donations to Republican candidates “for the purpose of gaining influence with politicians so as to advance their own personal financial interests and the political interests of Ukrainian government officials.”

The same day, the two men from the former Soviet Union were also subpoenaed by the House committees leading the impeachment inquiry against Trump for documents and information they may have relevant to the impeachment inquiry. Giuliani previously said he had worked with Parnas and Fruman in his push for Ukraine to investigate former vice president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. The two originally refused to cooperate with the probe but were arrested as they attempted to leave the country. Parnas has since indicated his willingness to cooperate.

Parnas is currently under detention at his home in Florida.

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