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World News

Federal prosecutors file new charges against associate of Trump backer Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani, former New York City Mayor and personal attorney to U.S. President Donald Trump, speaks during a news conference to promote Republican Party candidates in New York City, U.S., September 16, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/Files

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal prosecutors said on Thursday they had filed additional charges against Lev Parnas, a one-time associate of President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who was already facing campaign finance-related charges.

Prosecutors said they had charged Parnas and an associate, David Correia, with conspiring to defraud investors in an insurance company they operated. Prosecutors said a superseding indictment also includes fresh campaign finance law violations.

Audrey Strauss, acting chief federal prosecutor in Manhattan, said that Parnas and David Correia, one of three co-defendants charged with Parnas in an indictment the prosecutor’s office issued in 2019, were charged in a superseding indictment with conspiring to commit wire fraud in connection with their efforts to raise funds for a business they called “Fraud Guarantee.”

Prosecutors said Parnas and Correia set up Fraud Guarantee in late 2012, and that, “ironically,” they had pitched the company to potential investors as an entity that would protect investors from fraud.

In a statement, Strauss said: “Lev Parnas and David Correia conspired in a fraud using a company called ‘Fraud Guarantee’ that purported to insure investors against corporate fraud while in fact, as alleged, they misled investors as to what would be done with their money. ‘Fraud Guarantee’ takes on a different meaning in light of today’s allegations that the company was a vehicle for committing fraud, not insuring against it.”

In addition to the wire fraud charges, the new indictment also charges Parnas, Correia and Igor Fruman, an associate of Parnas and Giuliani, with soliciting a foreign national to make donations and contributions, and charges Parnas, Fruman and a fourth man, Andrey Kukushkin, with aiding and abetting a foreign national to contribute to U.S. federal and state elections.

Joseph Bondy, a lawyer for Parnas, said: “Lev Parnas has been on strict home confinement for nearly one year, waiting for this superseding indictment, which contains no surprises. We are pleased that the matter can now move forward, for both Mr. Parnas and the public interest.”

Todd Blanche, a lawyer for Fruman, said he had no comment, as did William Harrington, a lawyer for Correia. Lawyers for the other defendant, Kukushkin, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel and Mark Hosenball; Editing by Chris Reese and Dan Grebler

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