Two Florida businessmen who were key players in Rudolph W. Giuliani’s quest to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joseph R. Biden were arrested late Wednesday on campaign finance charges.
Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman introduced Mr. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, to a Ukrainian prosecutor to target Mr. Biden, a Democratic presidential candidate, and his son Hunter.
The charges against the pair, who were born in Ukraine but now live in Florida, appear to be unrelated to their Ukraine activities.
Prosecutors say the two men conspired to funnel money from a Russian donor into U.S. elections. They face four charges including conspiracy, falsification of records and lying to the Federal Election Commission about political donations.
Both men have donated heavily to Republican campaigns, including President Trump’s campaign. In May 2018, they gave $325,000 to America First Action through a business called Global Energy Producers, according to FEC data.
They are expected to appear on Thursday in federal court in Virginia.
Prosecutors say the two men shielded the foreign source of the funds by laundering through their U.S. business. Mr. Furman even went so far as to intentionally misspell his name so the FEC wouldn’t catch the donations, they said.
The House committees overseeing the impeachment inquiry issued subpoenas for Mr. Parnas and Mr. Furman to testify and turn over documents. The two were asked to provide documents related to their efforts or the efforts of others to get Ukraine officials to investigate the Bidens, the Democratic National Committee or Hillary Clinton.
Congress had previously asked the two men to voluntarily provide the information.
“Your clients are private citizens who are not employees of the Executive Branch,” the committee chairmen wrote in a letter. “They may not evade requests from Congress for documents and information necessary to conduct our inquiry.”
The subpoena deadline is Oct. 16.
The federal investigation stemmed from a complaint filed by the Campaign Legal Center, an open government advocacy group. CLC uncovered the Trump campaign donation in July 2018.
“We are pleased that federal law enforcement has conducted an investigation into these campaign finance crimes and made these two arrests. The public is now learning just how dangerous dark money can be in U.S. elections, including the potential for illegal foreign funds, which DOJ says were used here,” said Trevor Potter, president of CLC and former Republican chairman of the FEC.
“The fact that these two individuals were working with Giuliani and Ukrainian government officials to alter U.S. policy in that country will obviously be relevant to the impeachment investigation,” Mr. Potter continued.
• Gabriella Muñoz contributed to this article.
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