US prosecutors asked a federal judge to jail an associate of Rudy Giuliani as he awaits trial for not disclosing a $1 million transfer from a Russian account during bail proceedings.
In a court filing Wednesday, prosecutors said Lev Parnas presents an “extreme risk of flight,” pointing to what they charged were misrepresentations of his assets.
The transfer was made to account held by Parnas’s wife Svetlana, according to prosecutors, who did not say the source of the money.
“The majority of that money appears to have been used on personal expenses and to purchase a home,” they said in the court filing, according to Bloomberg News.
Prosecutors described the transfer as an apparent “attempt to ensure that any assets were held in Svetlana’s, rather than Lev’s, name.” They also said Parnas had “considerable ties abroad and access to seemingly limitless sources of foreign funding” and that he raised $1.5 million from “Ukrainian and Russian sources” over the past three years.
Parnas and fellow Giuliani associate Igor Fruman were arrested in October on charges that they used foreign money to make illegal campaign contributions. Prosecutors said the donations were made while the men were lobbying US politicians to oust the US ambassador to Ukraine.
A US prosecutor said earlier this month an upgraded indictment against Parnas and Fruman is likely.
A rewritten indictment could add or subtract charges and could result in additional arrests, though Assistant US Attorney Douglas Zolkind gave no indication of what changes might be made to an indictment that includes charges of conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records.
The arrest of the men has brought new scrutiny to dealings in Ukraine by Giuliani, a former New York City mayor who is US President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer. Giuliani’s actions are being looked at as part of the investigation by Manhattan federal prosecutors.
Giuliani, who has said he knew nothing about illegal campaign donations, was trying to get Ukrainian officials to investigate the son of Trump’s potential Democratic challenger, Joe Biden. Parnas and Fruman had key roles in Giuliani’s quest.
The pressure put on Ukraine has led to a congressional impeachment investigation into whether Trump engaged in “treason, bribery or high crimes and misdemeanors” by withholding $400 million in aid while pushing Ukraine to investigation Biden.
On Friday, the House Judiciary Committee approved charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress against Trump, setting up a full vote by the House of Representatives on the articles of impeachment next week.
Trump called the committee vote to impeach him ”an embarrassment to our country.”