August 15, 2022

A Russian oligarch has been charged with allegedly paying $1 million to Rudy Giuliani associates Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas as part of a scheme to influence the 2018 US elections through illegal straw donations, prosecutors announced Monday.

Andrey Muraviev, 47, was charged with conspiring with Fruman, Parnas and Andrey Kukushkin to pay US politicians illegal donations in order to help them secure licenses to start a legal marijuana business.

Muraviev agreed to provide $1 million to fund hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and federal political donations in Florida, Nevada, Texas, New York and New Jersey leading up to the November 2018 elections, according to the indictment from 2020 that was unsealed in Manhattan federal court Monday.

Muraviev sent the money to Fruman’s brother’s bank account and the payments were made in Fruman and Parnas’ names, all to hide that Muraviev was the real donor, prosecutors allege.

Muraviev is charged with conspiracy and making contributions by a foreign national. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted on both counts.

Muraviev sent the money to the brother of Rudy Giuliani associates Igor Fruman to be used in donations, prosecutors said.
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Muraviev is still at large and believed to be in Russia, prosecutors said.

Muraviev “attempted to influence the 2018 elections by conspiring to push a million dollars of his foreign funds to candidates and campaigns,” US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. “He attempted to corrupt our political system to advance his business interests.”

In October, Parnas and Kukushkin were found guilty for their involvement in the scheme.

Fruman in January was sentenced to a year and a day behind bars and a $10,000 fine after pleading guilty.

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The donations were made in Lev Parnas and Fruman's names to conceal Muraviev's involvement in the scheme.
The donations were allegedly made in Lev Parnas and Fruman’s names to conceal Muraviev’s involvement in the scheme.
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Fruman also helped Giuliani — who was the personal lawyer for former President Donald Trump — dig up dirt on President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, is under investigation by federal prosecutors.

It was not immediately known who Muraviev’s lawyer was.

News of the federal charges against Muraviev come as the US sanctions more Russian oligarchs amid the Kremlin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.