WASHINGTON • US President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Mr Rudy Giuliani, was paid US$500,000 (S$685,000) for work he did for a firm co-founded by the Ukrainian-American businessman arrested last week on campaign finance charges, Mr Giuliani told Reuters on Monday.
The businessman, Mr Lev Parnas, is a close associate of Mr Giuliani and was involved in his effort to investigate Mr Trump's political rival, former US vice-president Joe Biden, who is a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination.
Mr Giuliani said Mr Parnas' firm, Boca Raton-based Fraud Guarantee, whose website says it aims to help clients "reduce and mitigate fraud", engaged management and security consulting firm Giuliani Partners around August last year.
Federal prosecutors are "examining Giuliani's interactions" with Mr Parnas and another Giuliani associate, Mr Igor Fruman, who was also indicted on campaign finance charges.
The New York Times last week said Mr Parnas had told associates that he paid Mr Giuliani hundreds of thousands of dollars for what Mr Giuliani said was business and legal advice. Mr Giuliani said for the first time on Monday that the total sum was US$500,000.
Mr Parnas and Mr Fruman were arrested at Dulles Airport outside Washington last week on charges of funnelling foreign money to unnamed US politicians in a bid to influence US-Ukraine ties, in violation of US campaign finance laws.
According to an indictment unsealed by US prosecutors, an unidentified Russian businessman last year arranged for two US$500,000 wires to be sent from foreign bank accounts to a US account controlled by Mr Fruman.
Foreign nationals are prohibited from making contributions and other expenditures in connection with US elections and from making contributions in someone else's name.