A group of individuals with ties to President Donald Trump tried to install new management at the top of Ukraine’s state gas company in order to give favorable contracts to companies ran by Trump allies, according to the Associated Press.

The plan was unfolding at the same time Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was making routine visits to Ukraine to push the government to investigate political rival Joe Biden.

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry then became involved in trying to install a new board at the gas company Naftogaz. Perry’s shortlist reportedly included a past political donor of his.

Although it is unclear if Perry’s involvement with Naftogaz was related to Giuliani’s attempt to launch a Ukrainian investigation into Biden, the affair shows how Trump allies and his administration were simultaneously pursuing deals in Ukraine that would benefit the president both politically and financially.


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The investigation also revealed that the businessmen involved in the deal were political insiders, and were alerted that the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, would be removed from her position three months prior to the date she was officially recalled.

In early March, three businessmen were working on a plan to replace the Naftogaz CEO with another senior executive at the company, Andrew Favorov, according to two individuals who spoke to the AP, as well as a memorandum submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Kiev.

A former business partner of Favorov, Dale Perry said Favorov viewed the offer as a shakedown.

Perry, who is of no relation to Rick Perry, said he was concerned about the efforts to change the board of Naftogaz and to get rid of Yovanovitch, that he reported what he had heard to a State Department foreign service officer at the U.S. Embassy. He also wrote a detailed memo about Favorov’s account, dated April 12, which was shared with another current State Department official. 

John Dowd, an attorney representing two of the businessmen who tried to set up the deal, said Naftogaz approached his clients first, and afterwards his clients went to discuss the potential deal with Rick Perry.

“The people from the company solicited my clients because Igor [one of the businessmen] is in the gas business, and they asked them, and they flew to Washington and they solicited,” Dowd said. “They sat down and talked about it. And then it was presented to Secretary Perry to see if they could get it together.

Dowd added, “It wasn’t a shakedown, it was an attempt to do legitimate business that didn’t work out.”

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