- Igor Fruman and another Soviet-born associate, Lev Parnas, were former associates of Rudy Giuliani.
- Fruman and Parnas helped Giuliani meet with a Ukrainian prosecutor as part of a push to investigate President Joe Biden, then Trump’s political rival.
WASHINGTON – Igor Fruman, one of two Soviet-born former associates of Rudy Giuliani, pleaded guilty Wednesday in a campaign finance scheme to buy influence with American politicians and campaigns.
Fruman, from Belarus, pleaded guilty to solicitation of a contribution by a foreign national in federal district court in Manhattan. He and Lev Parnas, from Ukraine – both of whom dined with former President Donald Trump in the White House and showered Republican campaign committees with $500,000 – were accused of funneling foreign money to U.S. campaigns, a violation of federal campaign finance laws, to try to buy influence with politicians.
Fruman and Parnas also helped Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, meet with a Ukrainian prosecutor to push for an investigation of President Joe Biden, then Trump’s political rival. The issue was at the heart of an impeachment investigation of the former president that began in fall 2019.
Fruman said during a plea hearing Wednesday before U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken that he and other associates saw an opportunity for a marijuana business in the United States. Fruman admitted soliciting campaign donations in excess of $25,000 from a potential investor who’s a foreign national, giving that person a list of Democratic and Republican politicians in states that were legalizing cannabis.
“I deeply regret my actions and apologize to the court,” Fruman said as he read from a prepared statement.
Fruman’s plea agreement does not involve testifying against co-defendants.He is facing up to nearly four years in prison and will be sentenced on Jan. 21.
Parnas and another business partner, David Correia, were facing additional charges for allegedly defrauding potential investors to raise money for Fraud Guarantee, Parnas’ company. Correia pleaded guilty in the fraud case in October 2020.
A fourth defendant, Andrey Kukushkin, is also accused of campaign finance violations.
Contributing: Kevin Johnson, Bart Jansen and Kevin McCoy
Igor Fruman, former Rudy Giuliani associate, pleads guilty