Associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani received US$1m from Ukrainian oligarch's lawyer: Prosecutor

Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas arrives for a bail hearing in New York, Dec 17, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US prosecutors said in court on Tuesday (Dec 17) that Lev Parnas, an associate of US President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, received a US$1 million (S$1.3 million) payment from a lawyer for Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash.

Prosecutors have said that Parnas, who has been charged with campaign finance violations, should have his bail revoked because he concealed the payment from them.

Parnas has denied hiding the payment.

The Ukraine-born US citizen was released on bail after his arrest in October and has been living under house arrest in Florida.

Last week, prosecutors asked US District Judge Paul Oetken in Manhattan to revoke Parnas' bail. They said he had concealed information about his finances, including a US$1 million payment he had received from an account in Russia in September.

The account into which the payment was deposited was in the name of Parnas' wife, Svetlana Parnas, government and defence lawyers said.

On Tuesday, US Attorney Rebekah Donaleski said that the source of the payment was Firtash's lawyer. She said it was not plausible the payment was a loan to Parnas' wife, as he had said.

A lawyer for Parnas, Joseph Bondy, identified the Firtash attorney in court as Swiss national Ralph Oswald Isenegger.

Firtash, one of Ukraine's wealthiest businessman, is fighting extradition by US authorities on bribery charges from Vienna, where he has lived for five years.

Firtash's spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Bondy said in a court filing on Monday that the US$1 million payment was, in fact, disclosed. He said in court that Parnas "has absolutely no continuing relationship with Mr Firtash... Mr Parnas has completely burned those bridges."

Parnas was charged alongside another Florida businessman, Belarus-born Igor Fruman, with illegally funneling money to a pro-Trump election committee and other politicians.

Fruman and Parnas have pleaded not guilty.

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