Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel
Federal prosecutors investigating Giuliani's gas industry links in Ukraine: report
Federal prosecutors are probing whether President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was situated to profit from a Ukrainian natural gas company pushed by two of his associates, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing people familiar.
The now-indicted associates - Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman - pushed plans for a Poland-to-Ukraine pipeline to transport U.S. natural gas and said the pipeline was supported by the Trump administration, people briefed on the meetings told the Journal.
Parnas and Fruman told Ukrainian officials that Giuliani was a partner on the project, which was being done by their company Global Energy Producers (GEP), one person reportedly said. Another told the Journal that Parnas and Fruman thought of Giuliani as a possible investor for their firm, but that the pipeline pitch was exaggerated.
Giuliani told the Journal Friday that he was not involved in the energy company or pipeline project.
"I have no personal interest in any business in Ukraine, including that business," Giuliani said.
He also said he did not know if prosecutors were investigating the matter.
"If they really want to know if I'm a partner, why don't they ask me?" he said.
Kenneth F. McCallion, a lawyer representing Ukrainians who had heard of a pipeline deal, told the Journal that his clients believed the pipeline to be "part of the essential package" pushed by Giuliani and his associates.
The Journal reported that prosecutors are also looking into whether Giuliani broke lobbying laws due to his Ukraine work.
"I don't know what they said to other people about me," Giuliani told the newspaper, referencing Parnas and Fruman. "I do know the following: I am not a part of the ownership, or any other involvement with GEP. I never agreed to be part of it. I'm not even sure I was ever asked to be part of it."
Parnas and Fruman were arrested last month on campaign finance violation charges, including an accusation of funneling money to a pro-Trump super PAC.
Giuliani's dealings in Ukraine have become a focus of the House's impeachment inquiry into Trump. Officials who testified in the inquiry described Giuliani's role in Ukraine policy as an "irregular channel."
Both Trump and Giuliani have denied any wrongdoing.