Rudy Giuliani’s Henchmen – Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman
Lev Parnas was born in the Soviet Union in 1972, but came to the United states in 1976 and grew up in Brooklyn. He worked for a realtor selling units in Trump buildings as a teenager. Heâ€™s spent his adult life in Florida, where he had numerous businesses.
His early criminal career was as a stock broker. Parnas has been associated with three companies that have been expelled from the industryâ€™s self-regulating body, FINRA. In the 1990s he was a broker with Euro-Atlantic Securities, Inc. That firm was at the center of a stock fraud prosecution involving several alleged organized crime figures. Parnas had left the company by the time indictments were brought for stock-price manipulation, but his business partner, Mitchell Reisman, pleaded guilty in New Jersey to theft by deception and securities fraud and was later sentenced to 51 months in prison for another fraud scheme. In 2003, another Parnas-associated company, Program Trading Corp., in Boca Raton, was expelled from FINRA after it refused to pay fines and settle with the National Association of Securities Dealers, which accused Program Trading of malfeasance. He has not been a registered broker since 2009, when the North Miami Beach company he worked for, Basis Financial, LLC, was expelled. In a settlement with FINRA, Basis Financialâ€™s owners admitted to a range of misrepresentations and misconduct and FINRA determined the company failed to establish anti-money-laundering policies.
Some of Parnas’ other scams included businesses where he and other shady partners scammed investors out of their money. In 2006, Parnas was invested in a company called Edgetech International, which sold a handheld wireless computer to Russians.They partnered with Lou Pearlman. A year later investigors closed in on Pearlman for running one of the largest ponzi schemes in history. In 2007, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison. When Arthur Dozortsev was indicted in 2008, federal prosecutors said he was a â€śhigh-ranking member of Russian organized crime.â€ť Among the assets he agreed to forfeit was 100,000 shares of EdgeTech stock, which Arthur Dozortsev said that Parnas had conned him into buying. In June 2009 EdgeTechâ€™s went out of business.
Parnas did business like a mobster, and lived his life like a mobster. In 2008, he was asked to leave the Trump-branded condo he was living in, on the 42nd floor of Trump Palace in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida. When his landlord tried to evict him because of unpaid rent, The Miami Herald reported that Parnas told the man, “If you call the cops, they are not going to find you ever,” When they met a few days later, Parnas held a gun to the manâ€™s head and said, “This is my last warning to you,” then got into his car and drove off. Police caught up with Parnas three days after that and seized four weapons, a .38 revolver, a 9mm pistol, an automatic pistol, and a .40-caliber Glock pistol.
In 2010, Parnas received a $350,000 bridge loan from an investor for a movie that was never made. The loan was never paid back, and in 2016 a judge had awarded a $500,000 judgment against Parnas.
Born in Belarus, Igor Fruman ran an import/export business and owned a boutique hotel in Odessa, Ukraine. He migrated to Miami and in 2005, he married Yelyzaveta Naumova, also a Ukrainian national. Naumova filed for divorce in 2017. He ran a New York import-export business dealing in coffee, baby food, ketchup and dairy products. A milk canning plant he invested in went bankrupt after going nearly $25 million in debt. In addition to his interests in real estate and shipping, Fruman is the president of the Ukrainian-based Otrada Luxury Group, which sells cars, jewelry, boats, food and alcohol. He is also the registered agent of Seafront Properties, LLC. He has personal ties to organized crime figures in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa.
Parnas, Fruman & Giuliani
The company that first brought Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman into association with Rudy Giuliani appears to have been Fraud Guarantee. On the website of Fraud Guarantee, they claim to protect investors â€śfrom losses due to fraud.â€ť Giuliani says the two men retained him for legal advice, for which he told Reuters he received $500,000. However, it appears that Parnas and Fruman were just a conduit for this money to get from Dimitry Firtash to Giuliani.
Firtash, who had a team of world class lawyers, decided to change his legal strategy. He hired pro-Trump lawyers, and Fox News regulars, Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing, who were already working with Trumpâ€™s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Because of Giulianiâ€™s proximity to Trump, he had to be more subtle about paying him. DiGenova and Toensing charged Firtash $1 million for their work, and they paid Giuliani associate, Lev Parnas as a translator and contact. Then Parnas, through his company Fraud Guarantee, paid Giuliani $500,000.
Parnas did help in setting up meetings between Giuliani and former Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko. Giuliani spoke on the phone with Lutsenko and met with him for several hours in New York City in January, the Times reported. They reportedly met again in Warsaw in February.
Parnas, Furman, Giuliani and Trump
Meantime, Parnas and Fruman had set up a natural gas business, which just happened to be in the same business as Dimitry Firtash. On May 17, 2018, that gas company, Global Energy Producers, contributed $325,000 to America First Action, a pro-Trump super PAC, according to federal campaign finance records. Lev Parnas is the CEO of the company, and Igor Fruman as the president. It was this illegal campaign donation that seems to have caught the attention of federal prosecutors, after a ethics weatchdog made it public. When they were arrested at Dulles airport, with one-way tickets to Vienna, they had just had a meeting with Giuliani at Trump’s DC hotel. After their arrests, Giuliani admitted they were his clients, but Trump denied knowing them. There is ample evidence that this is a lie. Parnas attended fundraisers for Trump in Florida, the campaignâ€™s election night victory party in New York, and an inauguration gala in DC, where he was pictured with Trump, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. He also had dinner at the White House with Trump. There are numerous pictures of the two men with Donald Trump and Don Jr. who they had breakfast with in Beverly Hills in 2018. They were also regulars at Mar-a-Lago.