The Investigation into Rudy Giuliani’s Associates Has Widened
Rudy Giuliani has admitted he received $500,000 from his indicted associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. Now the question has become, “Where did they get their money and was any of it laundered?” Giuliani has got to be sweating this investigation – did he declare all the payments he received from the pair? Following the money should help the Feds uncover who, ulitimately, was behind the schemes that Parnas, Fruman, and Giuliani were working.
Their M.O. is reminiscent of Manafort’s money laundering scams for which he was convicted and jailed.
A federal grand jury investigating activities surrounding Rudy Giuliani’s back-channel campaign in Ukraine has demanded legal documents that include records of extravagant spending at Trump hotels and millions of dollars in financial transfers by Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two key operatives who carried out the plan, according to a source familiar with the demand.
The documents requested by a subpoena that was issued in Florida last week could shed light on whether other people, including foreign nationals, were trying to influence the top levels of government and impact the 2020 presidential campaign.
The subpoena also shows the investigation has extended beyond campaign finance violations — the current charges against two of the defendants in the shadow campaign — and may examine more serious financial crimes.
The documents in question, some of which were previously obtained by BuzzFeed News, show dozens of transfers totaling more than $3 million into accounts belonging to Parnas last year as he and his business partner Fruman jetted into Ukraine and other countries in search of damaging information on Joe Biden.
The demand for the documents comes after at least one US bank raised concerns about a series of suspicious transactions in Parnas’s accounts, which had hallmark signs of money laundering and fraud, according to two senior law enforcement officers.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars were transferred among the partners last year — in some cases back and forth — while some of the funds were sent to family members in patterns not consistent with normal business transactions, the experts said.
Ivan Garces, a longtime Miami consultant who spent years conducting money laundering investigations for financial institutions, said the sequence of the transfers would alarm the bank.
“The back and forth and the round dollars — those are going to set off alerts,” said Garces, a former director of forensic services for KPMG, an auditing firm.
Month after month, the partners’ business accounts took in money — dozens of transfers ranging from a few thousand dollars to $1.26 million — mostly in large, round numbers.
In the indictment issued two weeks ago, the partners are accused in one transaction of trying to hide the source of a major contribution they made to a pro-Trump super PAC: $325,000 that came from the refinancing of a condo owned by Fruman in South Florida.
The bank records obtained by BuzzFeed News show that six months later, Fruman and Parnas continued to move money into three different company accounts — two of which were incorporated in Delaware without any offices, phones, or known business activities.
Ken McCallion [a former New York federal prosecutor] said he learned from his contacts in Ukraine that “Parnas and Fruman were throwing around a lot of money. It’s very conspicuous spending.” He said the agents he spoke with earlier this year were conducting a counterintelligence investigation into whether foreign money was paying for their activities. They "want to know who is bidding for the services of Parnas and Fruman and Giuliani,” he said.
Already, investigators have connected Parnas and Fruman to at least one foreign national — an unnamed Russian businessperson mentioned in the indictment who allegedly gave the men money to fund political campaigns in Nevada, where they wanted to launch the marijuana business.
One of those payments — $500,000 — was wired into a business account owned by Fruman in October, the indictment states. On that same day, Fruman moved $263,000 into an account shared with Parnas, the bank documents show — the transfer that drew the attention of the bank, the law enforcement sources told BuzzFeed News.
Scott Chapman [a Florida lawyer who is still pursuing Parnas in an unrelated court case] said he doesn’t know how Parnas has paid for the five-star hotels and restaurants over the past year. “Whether he is just a front man for another powerful person, I just don’t know. Someone is paying for it.”
Side note: Haven’t these masterminds figured out that if you’re going to launder money, you don’t transfer it in big, round numbers? Manafort made the same mistake. Instead of laundering $100,000.00, make it something like $101,236.94. Just a tip.