International

Ukraine sanctions two businessmen tied to Giuliani

Greg Nash

Ukraine on Friday announced sanctions against two businessmen with ties to former President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, accusing one of selling titanium products that ended up in the hands of the Russian military. 

Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council announced the sanctions against Dmytro Firtash and Pavel Fuks, though it added that the exact details of the penalties would be detailed in a separate decree from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, according to Reuters

Security council secretary Oleksiy Danilov said in a briefing that Firtash, an influential businessman in Ukraine who has been indicted in the United States on bribery and racketeering charges, received the sanctions due to “his involvement in the titanium business.” 

“There is a supply of raw materials and then … it goes to the military enterprises of the Russian Federation and we cannot allow this to continue,” Danilov said, Reuters reported. 

A spokesman for Firtash, who has repeatedly fought extradition from Vienna and pushed back against the U.S. charges, did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment. 

Firtash in 2019 told The New York Times that Giuliani associates had offered him assistance with his legal problems in exchange for hiring two lawyers already working with Giuliani on his search for dirt on Trump’s political rivals, including then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. 

The Ukrainian businessman said the two associates were Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, both of whom have pleaded not guilty to campaign finance violation charges for allegedly seeking to funnel money to U.S. politicians to influence U.S.-Ukraine relations.

Ukraine on Friday also said it was also sanctioning Fuks, though the exact reasons for the penalties were not immediately clear. 

Reuters reported that Fuks, a developer who helped finance Giuliani’s consulting work in 2017 for the city of Kharkiv, told the Ukraine 24 news channel that the sanctions lacked merit, adding that he planned to take legal action. 

According to court filings obtained by The Washington Post in 2019, Fuks said he was banned from entering the U.S. for five years, though the reason for this was not immediately clear in the documents. 

The 2019 House inquiry leading up to lawmakers’ vote to impeach Trump over allegations that he had solicited foreign help in his reelection campaign, including by threatening to withhold military aid to Ukraine unless Zelenskiy launched a probe into Biden, included the search for records into Fuks and other past Ukrainian clients of Giuliani. 

Fuks has also said that he hosted Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. in Moscow in 2006 as their father sought to negotiate a possible deal for licensing Trump branding for development in the Russian capital, though the project eventually died out, The Post reported. 

The sanctions against the Giuliani associates come as federal prosecutors are looking into whether Ukrainian officials were involved in a plan to interfere with the 2020 presidential election.

The probe is reportedly focused on whether the Ukrainian actors allegedly spread unsupported claims of corruption about Biden, including through Giuliani himself. 

Lawyers for Giuliani have denied that their client committed any wrongdoing in this case. 

Meanwhile, Giuliani is the subject of a separate probe that resulted in federal investigators searching his apartment and seizing his electronic devices. Authorities are looking into whether Giuliani failed to register as a foreign agent when lobbying on behalf of Ukraine to the Trump administration.

Tags 2020 election Donald Trump Giuliani investigation Ivanka Trump Joe Biden Moscow New York Times oligarchs Reuters Rudy Giuliani Russia The Washington Post Trump–Ukraine scandal Ukraine Ukrainian officials
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