Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were carrying out President Trump’s scheme to pressure Ukraine to investigate his domestic rivals. This morning, the two men were arrested on campaign-finance charges as they attempted to leave the country.
The campaign-finance charges involve Parnas and Fruman allegedly violating federal law by funneling several million dollars to Pete Sessions, a former House Republican from Texas. Sessions was valuable to their operation because he publicly demanded the firing of Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador (who was subsequently fired.) Lachlan Markay detailed the connection between Parnas, Fruman, and Sessions earlier this week.
profile of the two, by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, creates the distinct impression that both men are goons. Not violent goons, but people who specialize in highly unethical or illegal activity that may involve organized crime.
side hustle in which they tried to push Ukraine’s state-controlled energy sector to sign them up to export liquid natural gas. The gas proposal appears to be their payoff: They could let Ukraine know they represented Trump, and Ukraine would therefore have an incentive to throw some business their way, despite their lack of expertise in the inner workings of the energy business.
floated the prospect of pardons to Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn before.
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