Fruman and his partner Lev Parnas covered up an illegal donation of $ 325,000 to support Donald Trump’s re-election campaign in 2020.
Igor Fruman, who tried to find damaging information in Ukraine on then-US presidential candidate Joe Biden ahead of the 2020 election, pleaded guilty on Friday to one count in a campaign finance case.
Fruman, 56, a former partner of former US President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, admitted at a hearing in US District Court in New York City to having solicited money from a national foreigner.
Fruman becomes the last person associated with Trump to face criminal charges. Eight others were charged or pleaded guilty to crimes including lying to Congress, obstructing justice, lying to the FBI, conspiracy, tampering with witnesses, and bank and tax fraud.
Belarus-born Fruman and his former business partner, Ukrainian-born businessman Lev Parnas, were accused in October 2019 of concealing an illegal donation of $ 325,000 to support Trump’s re-election campaign in 2020.
They and another defendant, Andrey Kukushkin, have also been accused of illegally using donations to American politicians from a Russian businessman to obtain legal licenses to distribute cannabis for recreational purposes.
Fruman’s plea relates to this endeavor. In a court statement, Fruman said he had considered making donations to Democratic and Republican officials in U.S. states where he wished to operate and sent a list of those officials to the foreign national.
âAt that time, I had little experience with the rules around political donations,â Fruman said.
“But I generally understood that foreign nationals and individuals who are not US citizens were not allowed to make political donations in the United States.”
“I deeply regret my actions and apologize to the court and the United States government,” he added.
A federal prosecutor said $ 1 million was transferred as part of the scheme.
Lawyers for Parnas and Kukushkin did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Reuters news service.
Parnas and Kukushkin have pleaded not guilty and are due on October 12.
Fruman’s plea does not include a cooperation agreement with prosecutors reviewing Giuliani’s transactions in Ukraine, including whether the former New York mayor violated lobbying laws while serving as personal attorney for Trump.
Giuliani had enlisted Fruman and Parnas to help uncover the filth on then-presidential candidate Biden and his son, Hunter.
Prosecutors said Fruman and Parnas also contributed to an effort to remove then-US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who Trump sacked in May 2019.
Giuliani has not been charged and has denied any wrongdoing.
Federal agents seized cell phones and computers during searches of his home and office in April.
Giuliani’s New York law license was suspended in June after a court ruled he lied, arguing that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.
The case against Parnas included a charge that he convinced people to invest more than $ 2 million in a fraudulent insurance company, Fraud Guarantee, but prosecutors withdrew that charge last month from an act of charge amended.
A fourth defendant, David Correia, pleaded guilty to a fraud guarantee conspiracy charge and was sentenced in February to one year and one day in prison.