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Russian oligarch charged in 2018 campaign finance scheme – NBC News

A Russian oligarch has been charged with making illegal political donations in a scheme involving two associates of Rudy Giuliani.

Andrey Muraviev is accused of conspiring with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman to secure retail marijuana licenses by funneling $1 million to political candidates in 2018, according to an indictment unsealed Monday. 

Parnas and Fruman were arrested in connection with the scheme in October 2019. Parnas was convicted last October. Fruman pleaded guilty last year. 

Both men were also involved in an effort by Giuliani, Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, to unearth damaging information about Joe Biden and his son Hunter ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

Prosecutors say Muraviev’s money went to federal and state politicians in Florida, Nevada and Texas. 

The money was routed through a bank account belonging to Fruman’s brother, the indictment said. The donations were made in the names of Fruman and Parnas, according to the indictment, which made no mention of the effort to harm Biden’s presidential campaign.

The purpose of the donations was to gain support from politicians who the defendants believed could help them obtain licenses to set up marijuana businesses, prosecutors said.

Foreign nationals are prohibited from donating money to U.S. election campaigns. 

Muraviev “attempted to corrupt our political system to advance his business interests,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. “The Southern District of New York is committed to rooting out efforts by foreigners to interfere with our elections.”

Muraviev, 47, is believed to be in Russia and remains at large, prosecutors said. He couldn’t be reached for comment, and it wasn’t immediately known whether he had hired a lawyer in the U.S.

A fourth person involved in the scheme, Andrey Kukushkin, was also found guilty in October. 

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