13:12 GMT17 February 2020
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    US federal prosecutors last month unsealed an indictment against Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, as well as two others - David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin - for funneling $1 million in illegal donations from foreign nationals to as-yet-unspecified political campaigns.

    According to Lev Parnas' lawyer Joseph Bondy, cited by Reuters, Parnas, the indicted associate of President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, is willing to work with the Trump impeachment inquiry.

    “We will honor and not avoid the committee’s requests to the extent they are legally proper, while scrupulously protecting Mr Parnas’ privileges including that of the Fifth Amendment”, Bondy said, referring to his client’s constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination, according to Reuters.

    Parnas and Fruman made their initial appearance at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on 10 October. Later that day, the two men were released on a $1 million bond each.

    Fruman and Parnas allegedly acted as associates to Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and are accused of helping Giuliani investigate the business activities of former US Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter in Ukraine. Fruman and Parnas are also accused of having donated money to a member of Congress and then pressing the lawmaker to remove or recall the then-US ambassador to Ukraine.

    In September, US House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry following a whistleblower complaint that claimed Trump abused his executive power by pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a 25 July phone call to investigate the possibility of corrupt activities by former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who was linked to Ukrainian energy company Burisma. The Bidens have said Trump’s allegations were false.

    Last week, Trump said that he wanted to read out loud the transcript of his telephone conversation with Zelensky. The White House has, however, declassified a purportedly unredacted transcript of the now-notorious phone call.

    According to Reuters, Parnas will be a crucial witness if he cooperates. The Ukrainian-American businessman reportedly claimed to be a key player in connecting Trump's lawyer to Ukrainian officials during Giuliani’s inquiries into the activities of Biden and his son Hunter.


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    Investigation, Ukraine, impeachment, Donald Trump, Lev Parnas, Rudy Giuliani
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