The Wall Street Journal reports that two associates of Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, who were allegedly involved in “efforts to investigate one of Trump’s political rivals” have been arrested in the United States.
Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas are believed to be "important witnesses in the House of Representatives' impeachment inquiry" against the U.S. president. The charges brought forward against the two men relate to campaign financing.
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Fruman and Parnas reportedly assisted Giuliani in his endeavors to propel investigations in Ukraine into Trump's likely rival in the 2020 presidential election from the Democrats, Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden who previously held a position of director at Ukraine's largest private energy firm Burisma.
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After their arrest late on October 9, the two Soviet-born businessmen were expected to appear in court on October 10 and 11, but the likelihood of them showing up voluntarily is allegedly low. According to the New York Times, House Democrats looked into the possibility of issuing subpoenas in order to force them to appear.
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In May, The New York Times revealed that Parnas worked with Fruman to connect Giuliani with Ukrainian prosecutors.
The two accused businessmen are executives of an energy company that donated $325,000 to a pro-Trump independent-expenditure only committee (known as a "super PAC") which led to a campaign finance watchdog filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission. The donation allegedly violates laws on campaign financing.
The Wall Street Journal also found that a law firm run by two lawyers close to the president, Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing, "hired Parnas in July to serve as an interpreter related to their representation of Dmytro Firtash", a Ukrainian oligarch, who in 2014 was arrested in Austria on corruption charges filed in the U.S.
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