A former associate of Rudy Giuliani is expected to plead guilty to federal campaign finance charges, court documents show.
The man, Igor Fruman, a Ukrainian-born businessman, pleaded not guilty to the charges brought by New York federal prosecutors in October 2019. But the case’s court docket says a “change of plea” hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
An attorney for Fruman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York declined to comment.
Fruman and his business partner, Lev Parnas, were carrying one-way tickets to Vienna when they were arrested at Dulles International Airport outside Washington two years ago.
An indictment unsealed the next day accused the pair of making illegal straw donations, including $325,000 to a pro-Trump political action committee. Federal prosecutors accused the two men and a third, Andrey Kukushin, of participating in a scheme that involved making political donations funded by an unidentified foreign national who was nervous about “his Russian roots and current political paranoia about it,” according to the indictment.
The purpose of the donations, which are alleged to have been made in 2018, was to help gain access to recreational marijuana licenses so they could form a marijuana business in Nevada, the indictment said. The venture never came to fruition, prosecutors said.
Federal prosecutors say the two also engaged in a scheme to force the ouster of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine in the original indictment but not in the superseding indictment filed last September.
NBC News has reported that Fruman and his business partner were helping Giuliani hunt for dirt on Donald Trump’s political opponents in Ukraine, even as they were also pitching potential partners on a business deal with Ukraine’s gas company.