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Ukraine scandal: Prosecutor investigating claims Rudy Giuliani was in line to profit from energy deal, report says

The Wall Street Journal says prosecutors are looking into the president's personal attorney and plans for a US natural gas pipeline in Ukraine

Alex Woodward
New York
Friday 15 November 2019 21:07 GMT
Reports says federal prosecutors are investigating Rudy Giuliani's role in his associate's plans for a Ukrainian gas pipeline.
Reports says federal prosecutors are investigating Rudy Giuliani's role in his associate's plans for a Ukrainian gas pipeline. (AP)

Federal prosecutors in New York have launched a probe into Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani and his links to plans for a Ukrainian energy project, The Wall Street Journal reports, as witnesses reveal the president's alleged abuses of power in televised impeachment proceedings investigating whether Mr Trump pressured the country's president to investigate Joe Biden.

The US Attorney's office has declined to comment, spokesman Nicholas Biase told The Independent.

Bloomberg also has cited three US officials familiar with the case that prosecutors were investigating Mr Giuliani's various financial dealings and interests, including possible campaign finance violations and a failure to register as a foreign agent with the US.

The New York Times had previously reported that federal prosecutors were investigating whether Mr Giuliani broke lobbying laws in his relationships with the White House and Ukraine.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Mr Giuliani's associates Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas pitched plans to Ukrainian officials for a pipeline from Poland to Ukraine carrying US natural gas, a project that would receive support from the White House.

Mr Giuliani's associates reportedly told officials in Ukraine that Mr Giuliani would be a partner in the project.

Mr Fruman and Mr Parnas were arrested by federal agents in October on charges that they had plotted to funnel foreign money to US politicians to influence business between the two countries. They pleaded not guilty to those charges.

The US Department of Justice reportedly began investigating Mr Giuliani after prosecutors launched a probe into his associates.

In his interview with the Wall Street Journal, Mr Giuliani denied involvement with his associates' plans to create a company, Global Energy Producers, and their plans for the pipeline.

He said: "I have no personal interest in any business in Ukraine, including that business."

Throughout the Congressional impeachment investigation into Mr Trump and this week's televised proceedings in the House, several witnesses have linked Mr Giuliani to White House attempts to pressure Ukraine to investigate the president's political rivals in exchange for military aid and a meeting with Mr Trump.

The former mayor of New York has been accused of running a "shadow" effort in the White House, including a "smear campaign" that led to the ousting of then-Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

Mr Giuliani has urged officials to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, who served on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

The impeachment probe has revealed that Ms Yovanovitch likely stood in the way of Mr Giuliani's attempts to dig up dirt on the Bidens, resulting in the abrupt end of her ambassadorship in Ukraine as the result of a "campaign of disinformation" created by "individuals with questionable motives" whose "financial ambitions" were jeopardised by her anti-corruption efforts.

She told Congress she was "kneecapped" by the State Department, which delivered the White House request for her to leave Ukraine as soon as possible.

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