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Russian oligarch linked to Giuliani associates indicted in donation probe

Russian oligarch linked to Giuliani associates indicted in donation probe
Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's then-campaign legal advisor, speaks at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C., on November 19, 2020. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

March 14 (UPI) -- A Russian oligarch linked to ex-associates of President Donald Trump's former lawyer Rudy Giuliani has been indicted in connection with illegal political donations, federal prosecutors announced Monday.

Andrey Muraviev, a Russian citizen, is charged with making illegal political contributions as a foreign national and conspiring to make illegal political contributions as a foreign national in the names of straw donors, according to an indictment first returned in 2020 and unsealed Monday in U.S. District Court in New York.

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Muraviev "attempted to influence the 2018 elections by conspiring to push a million dollars of his foreign funds to candidates and campaigns," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.

"He attempted to corrupt our political system to advance his business interests. The Southern District of New York is committed to rooting out efforts by foreigners to interfere with our elections," Williams added.

RELATED Impeachment: House managers say Trump sought to cheat in 2020 election

Muraviev's name figured prominently last year in the government's cases against Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two former associates of Trump's ex-lawyer Giuliani. He was named as the source of campaign donations given to them for the purposes of obtaining licenses for retail cannabis and marijuana businesses.

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Prosecutors said funds were sent to several Republican campaigns, including those of former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt for his unsuccessful 2018 campaign for governor and $325,000 for Trump's Super PAC.

It wasn't known until Monday that Muraviev was named as part of the original September 2020 indictment against the others. He is believed to be in Russia and remains at large as U.S. officials attempt to crack down on Russian oligarchs in response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

RELATED Jury finds Lev Parnas guilty of campaign finance criminal charges

The Ukraine-born Parnas and another of his associates, Andrey Kukushkin, were convicted last year on the same campaign-finance-related charges after Fruman pleaded guilty to one count of soliciting foreign campaign contributions.

Prosecutors said Parnas gained access to elected officials and candidates through illegal fundraising efforts, showing photos of himself with Trump and Giuliani.

Giuliani has not been charged in the case, but his New York apartment and office were raided by the FBI last year in connection with the ongoing probe.

RELATED Giuliani associates plead not guilty to campaign finance charges

Parnas also is connected to events that led to Trump's first impeachment. He provided information to House investigators about his involvement in an effort by Giuliani, Trump's personal attorney at the time, to pressure Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe Biden.

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