Two men connected to Giuliani's Ukraine effort charged with funneling foreign money into US election
Two associates of Rudy Giuliani connected to efforts to dig up dirt in Ukraine on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden were arrested trying to leave the country and indicted on criminal charges for allegedly funneling foreign money into US elections.
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 US politics and policy using foreign funds. The indictment involves two people central to the impeachment inquiry in the House.The two Giuliani-linked defendants, Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, were detained at Dulles International Airport outside Washington on Wednesday evening. They were booked on a flight to Frankfurt, Germany, to connect to another flight, according to a law enforcement source.Federal prosecutors were not intending to unseal the indictment against the Giuliani associates and two others Thursday, according to three US officials, but had to change course when they learned of the defendants' impending departure. The two were detained as they were about to board the flight with one-way tickets, Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman told reporters Thursday.Giuliani had lunch with Fruman and Parnas at the Trump International Hotel in Washington hours before the two were arrested, The Wall Street Journal reported. Giuliani declined to comment to CNN on the report.Attorney General William Barr, who visited the Manhattan US Attorney's office Thursday in what officials said was a routine stop, was briefed on the investigation into Parnas and Fruman in February after he took office, and he supported the prosecution, according to a US Justice Department official.Overall, four men were indicted Thursday on two counts of conspiracy, one count of false statements to the Federal Election Commission and one count of falsification of records. The four are alleged in the indictment unsealed by New York federal prosecutors to have conducted a scheme beginning in March 2018 to evade campaign finance laws.Fruman and Parnas appeared in court Thursday in Virginia, where prosecutors told a judge they were concerned the two might attempt to flee. They haven't entered a plea.They will be held in detention in Virginia until they each secure $1 million bond, a judge said.Along with Fruman and Parnas, Andrey Kukushkin was arrested and appeared in court Thursday in San Francisco, where he refused to turn over his Ukrainian passport. His bail hearing is set to resume Friday. The fourth man, David Correia, hasn't been arrested. All four are US citizens, according to the indictment.An attorney for Parnas and Fruman, Kevin Downing, declined to comment on the indictment. An attorney for Kukushkin, Robert Finkle, didn't respond to a request for comment.