Report: Giuliani’s Travails In Ukraine Tied To Leader Of Russian Organized Crime
President Donald Trump’s plan to obtain dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden involves an ever-growing cast of shadowy characters in realms both foreign and domestic.
According to The Washington Post, that web now includes threads linking efforts in Ukraine by Trump’s personal attorney to a Russian organized crime figure — Semion Mogilevich, whose nickname is the “boss of bosses.”
The path from Rudy Giuliani to Mogilevich involves several individuals: Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, for whom Giuliani has provided security consulting services and who in turn have assisted him with his quest for dirt on Biden; Dmyto Firtash, a Ukrainian oligarch currently fighting extradition to the U.S. on bribery charges; Victor Shokin, a former Ukrainian prosecutor whose removal was urged by Biden; and American attorneys Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing, both of whom represent Firtash, are staunch supporters of the president, and have bought into Giuliani’s conspiracy theories surrounding Biden and the 2016 election.
In January, Parnas and Fruman introduced Giuliani to Shokin, who alleged that Biden’s work in Ukraine led to his ouster and insisted that it was tied to his prior investigation of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company whose board included Biden’s son, Hunter.
In September, Shokin wrote a 12-page sworn affidavit submitted to an Austrian court attesting to this account, and Giuliani has subsequently pointed to the legal document as proof of his theory on Biden.
In between those events, Parnas reportedly met Firtash in Vienna, Austria, where the Soviet-born oligarch is holed up as he awaits extradition to the U.S. During that meeting, Firtash made known that he was seeking new legal representation, and Parnas suggested the married legal team of diGenova and Toensing.
Firtash hired the couple in July, and they subsequently brought on Parnas as their interpreter.
The Post noted that diGenova and Toensing later “secured a rare face-to-face meeting with Attorney General William P. Barr and other Justice Department officials to argue against the charges,” though Barr reportedly declined to intervene.
After Parnas and Fruman were arrested last month on campaign finance charges, a spokesman for Toensing and diGenova said Firtash has “no business relationship” with either men.
Notably, however, is that Parnas and Fruman put Giuliani in touch with Shokin, who later offered his affidavit “at the request of lawyers acting for Dmitry Firtash.”
Giuliani has also claimed to have no relationship with Firtash, though he said he considered speaking with him in the course of his search for information in Ukraine.
“I did sort of look at Firtash to see if he had any relevant information,” Giuliani said. “As far as I can tell, he didn’t. I looked at maybe 20 of these oligarchs.”
The president’s attorney referred to Firtash earlier this year as “this guy who’s considered to be one of the high-level Russian organized crime members or associates.” Indeed, U.S. federal prosecutors have described Firtash as an individual with ties to the “upper echelons” of Russian organized crime, The Post noted.
In support of that description, internal U.S. diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks in 2010 revealed that Firtash acknowledged having connections to Mogilevich, the “boss of bosses.”
Then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor — who, consequently, recently testified in the House’s impeachment inquiry — wrote in the memos that Firtash “acknowledged ties” to Mogilevich during a private meeting.
Though he claimed to have never broken the law, Firtash said “he needed Mogilevich’s approval to get into business in the first place.” The Ukrainian has since denied Taylor’s characterization of the conversation. But “files from the FBI, Interpol, and the US State Department assert that Firtash’s ties to Mogilevich were very real indeed.”
The FBI alleges that Mogilevich is involved with “weapons trafficking, contract murders, extortion, drug trafficking, and prostitution on an international scale.”
Read more about the relationships between Giuliani, Parnas, Fruman, Shokin, Firtash and Mogilevich.