Federal Judge Allows Giuliani Associate Lev Parnas To Remain Free Despite Lying To Prosecutors
A federal judge has allowed Ukrainian-born businessman Lev Parnas to remain free after prosecutors of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan filed a motion to revoke his bail.
Prosecutors say that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s business associate Parnas lied on multiple occasions to the authorities about the state of his finances.
The motion filed urged the court to jail Parnas due to the chance he might flee the U.S. He is now under house arrest in Florida. He faces trial on charges of illegally channeling foreign money into U.S. campaigns.
“Parnas poses an extreme risk of flight, and that risk of flight is only compounded by his continued and troubling misrepresentations to the Pretrial Services office and the Government,” prosecutors wrote.
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Prosecutors further wrote, “Parnas’s actions in the two months that he has been released, coupled with his substantial risk of flight, have shown that there is no set of conditions that will reasonably ensure his appearance and compliance with the terms of his release.”
Parnas was handcuffed at Dulles Airport outside Washington two months ago while catching a plane to Vienna.
A federal magistrate in Virginia ordered a bail of $1 million. Parnas negotiated it down to $200,000. He claimed he could not come up with $1 million and said that he only had access to $450,000 – in a bank account under his wife’s name.
Prosecutors say Parnas received a $1 million cash transfer from a Russian bank account in September. They say he never disclosed this to court officials or the prosecution team. The prosecution team also says he gave conflicting and imprecise accounts of his finances. It seems he also did not say that he had $200,000 in an escrow account in September. He has “access to seemingly limitless sources of foreign funding,” they added. They claim he spent $70,000 on “private air travel” this September.
The prosecution team accused Parnas and an anonymous defense attorney of deceiving a pretrial services officer in Florida by falsely saying the judge in New York wanted both sides to work out a deal to get Parnas time out of home detention.
Parnas and his business associate Igor Fruman worked closely with Giuliani on business ventures and Ukraine-related projects. This included endeavors to dig up dirt that could be politically useful to President Donald Trump.
Giuliani was not charged in the October indictment. The indictment squarely blamed Parnas and Fruman for donating to U.S. political campaigns on behalf of a Ukrainian government servant and a Russian tycoon.
The indictment was targeted towards removing the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Giuliani and his business partners were dedicated to fulfilling this goal.
The filing also points out that when Parnas and Fruman were arrested, they refused to comply with a House request for documents about their work.
“Parnas is also aware that he is under investigation for additional crimes, and that it is likely that he will be charged with additional offenses,” the prosecution team wrote.
Prosecutors argued that for four years Parnas has been hiding funds because he was ordered to pay about $500,000 in 2016 following a lawsuit by investors, who said Parnas had ripped them off.
“The Court can and should take into account Parnas’s years-long refusal to comply with a civil judgment against him, and his efforts to hide assets in his wife’s name to ensure that he remains judgment-proof. These actions indicate a lack of respect for the law,” the prosecutors wrote.
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