Giuliani told associate to offer Ukraine aid in exchange for Biden investigation

11 Novembre, 2019, 23:09 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Rudy Giuliani and Lev Parnas

A former associate claims Rudy Giuliani had him deliver a demand that Ukrainian officials investigate Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden or face repercussions from President Trump, according to a report Sunday.

A lawyer for Rudy Giuliani's indicted associate Lev Parnas said Giuliani directed Parnas to issue an ultimatum earlier this year to a representative of incoming Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, warning him that if the new government didn't announce an investigation into Joe Biden, the United States would freeze military aid and Vice President Mike Pence would not attend Zelensky's inauguration.

The account from Parnas, who along with other Giuliani associate Igor Fruman pleaded not guilty last month to criminal charges that they funneled foreign money into USA elections, suggests that he is willing to implicate Trump and Giuliani in the unraveling Ukraine scandal. "He added Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman had requested that Mr. Zelensky meet with Mr. Giuliani", Shefir is quoted in the article as saying. Fruman's lawyer John Dowd told the Times that the men looked only to meet with Zelensky and never brought up the United States aid or Pence's presence at the inauguration.

Trump froze almost $400 million in aid to Ukraine in June, ahead of the July 25 phone call with Zelensky that's at the heart of the Democratic impeachment inquiry, before lifting the hold in September.

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And while Parnas' lawyer Joseph Bondy said the message came at Giuliani's direction, Giuliani, who did not attend the meeting, told the Times he "never authorized such a conversation" and that "categorically, I did not tell him to say that".

However, Parnas's account remains in dispute, as none of the people involved in the meeting say the intention was to present an ultimatum to the Ukrainian leadership, including Parnas's business partner, Igor Fruman.

Pence didn't attend Zelensky's inauguration and his office told the Times that it had told Ukrainian officials on May 13 that he wouldn't be there.

"We did not treat Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman as official representatives, and therefore we did not consider that they could speak on behalf of the USA government", Shefir said in a statement to the Times.

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