Foreign citizens barred from donating in US elections
Lev Parnas, who assisted Rudy Giuliani’s attempts to find damaging information about Joe Biden in Ukraine, has been sentenced to just under two years in prison for fraud and campaign finance violations during the the 2018 选举.
Parnas, a Soviet-born, Florida-based businessman, was convicted in October of seeking funds from Russian businessman Andrey Muraviev to use in an influence campaign, donating to candidates thought to be helpful in opening a recreational-marijuana business in the US. He will serve one year and eight months in prison.
The onetime Giuliani ally, along with former associate Igor Fruman, was also found to have concealed that they were the source of a $325,000 donation to a pro-Trump group. The October conviction further held Parnas had made an illegal donation in 2018 to found an energy company.
Parnas had sought leniency in his sentencing, arguing he had assisted with Congress’s first impeachment investigation of Donald Trump.
Prosecutors countered that Parnas’s cooperation was little more than responding to a subpoena, and sought a more than six-year sentence.
分别地, 三月, Parnas pleaded guilty conspiring to commit wire fraud, admitting that between 2012 和 2019, he offered false information to investors in Fraud Guarantee, a Florida-based fraud protection company.
The firm paid Mr Giuliani, who hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing in the Parnas case, $500,000 to act as a consultant.
During the 2020 选举, Parnas acted as a fixer for Mr Giuliani to meet Ukrainian officials, whom he sought to persuade to announce an investigation into the business activities of Joe Biden’s son Hunter in the country.
According to Parnas, this was part of a larger scheme from Donald Trump and his associates to condition US aid to Ukraine on help with smearing Mr Biden.
“If they didn’t make the announcement, basically, there would be no relationship … there was no aid that was going to be assisted,” Parnas told CNN’s Anderson Cooper at the time.
Parnas and an associate were arrested in 2019 by the FBI at a Washington-area airport, with tickets bound for Frankfurt.
The businessman cooperated with Democratic House investigations during the first impeachment trial, which centered on how then-president Donald Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine while pushing for investigation into Joe Biden. Mr Trump denied wrongdoing and wasn’t convicted.
Mr Giuliani is under investigation into whether he broke lobbying laws during his interactions with Ukrainian leaders during the pressure campaign, which he denies constituted wrongdoing.