Federal prosecutors have plans to interview an executive with Ukraine’s state-owned gas firm Naftogaz as part of its investigation of Rudy Giuliani (shown) and two of his foreign-born business associates.
Andrew Favorov, director of the integrated gas division at Naftogaz, confirmed that he is slated to voluntarily sit down with the U.S. Justice Department as prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York look into Giuliani, the former mayor of New York who is currently serving as President Trump’s personal attorney.
In particular, the probe seeks to determine whether Giuliani failed to register as a foreign agent, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Last month, Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were arrested in Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C., while attempting to board a flight to Vienna, Austria.
Parnas’ company has paid Giuliani hundreds of thousands of dollars for business and legal advice. According to AP, both Parnas and Fruman worked with Giuliani to push for an investigation into the Bidens’ dealings in Ukraine and wanted to use donations to lobby U.S. politicians to oust former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
The two men were indicted on charges of conspiracy, making false statements, and falsification of records for allegedly using straw donations to disguise contributions and exceed donation limits.
They are also accused of having helped a Russian national funnel “$1-2 million” into the American political system to promote his recreational marijuana business.
According to two people Favorov briefed on the details, Parnas and Fruman met with the Naftogaz executive in March while the dual U.S.-Russian citizen was attending an energy conference in Texas.
The Giuliani associates told Favorov they had flown in from Florida on a private jet to recruit him as a partner in a venture to export 100 tanker shipments a year of U.S. liquefied gas into Ukraine, where Naftogaz is the largest distributor.
Parnas suggested supporting Favorov to replace Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev and reportedly told Favorov that President Trump was planning to replace Yovanovitch with an ambassador more amenable to their business interests.
Giuliani has described Parnas and Fruman as clients but denied involvement in their efforts to strike a gas deal in Ukraine.
Favorov lawyer Lanny Breuer told AP News:
The Department of Justice has requested an interview. He has agreed and will voluntarily sit down with the government attorneys. At this time, it would not be appropriate to comment further.
That federal prosecutors are interested in interviewing Favorov suggests they are looking beyond Giuliani’s involvement in the Biden-Ukraine situation that is the focus of Democrats’ impeachment inquiry and are conducting a broader probe into the dealings of the man known as “America’s Mayor.”
An investigation into whether Giuliani failed to register as a foreign agent for past work is reminiscent of one-time Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was indicted at the request of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and eventually sentenced to nearly 7 ½ years in prison—in part, for failing to register as a foreign agent.
It also brings to mind last week’s conviction of longtime Trump ally and Republican political operative Roger Stone, who was found guilty on seven counts that included making false statements to Congress.
Stone’s conviction came even though the Mueller probe that his arrest resulted from ended in May without establishing a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians.
Is Giuliani next on the list of the president’s allies to be taken down by the federal investigative establishment?
Democrats and the media have zeroed in on the president’s attorney due to his role in the Biden-Ukraine question. In a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, President Trump encouraged the foreign leader to talk with Giuliani about looking into the dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, with the natural gas company Burisma.
“Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak with him that would be great,” the president said during the call.
Giuliani has frequently spoken in public on allegations of corruption against Joe Biden, including that he was paid $900,000 in lobbying fees by Burisma.
For his part, President Trump has stated publicly that he will continue to stand with his lawyer and longtime friend.
“So now they are after the legendary ‘crime buster’ and greatest Mayor in the history of NYC, Rudy Giuliani,” he tweeted last month. “He may seem a little rough around the edges sometimes, but he is also a great guy and wonderful lawyer. Such a one sided Witch Hunt going on in USA. Deep State. Shameful!”
Photo of Rudy Giuliani: Gage Skidmore
Luis Miguel is a writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, Bitchute, and at luisantoniomiguel.com.