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Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Federal prosecutors said Monday that Lev Parnas, one of the two associates of Rudy Giuliani currently indicted for a campaign finance scheme and tied to the Ukraine scandal, received $1 million from Ukrainian oligarch Dmitro Firtash, according to Reuters.

Giuliani, who is currently serving as President Donald Trump’s unpaid attorney, has said that he was previously paid $500,000 by Parnas‘ company. Parnas is also directly connected to the married couple Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing, who have also worked as Trump’s attorneys. And he has had multiple meetings with Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr., as multiple photos show, but the president has claimed not to know him.

These connections all raise the specter of some kind of tie between Trump himself and Firtash, which would be deeply troubling. As The Intercept explained:

Firtash, who also goes by the Ukrainian form of his first name, Dmytro, is a billionaire natural gas magnate, who made his fortune in the chaos of the post-Soviet era and was described by federal prosecutors in Illinois in court papers in 2017 as an “upper-echelon” associate of Russian organized crime. The oligarch has since denied such links, but a leaked State Department cable published by WikiLeaks described a 2008 conversation with the then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, in which Firtash had “acknowledged ties to Russian organized crime figure Seymon Mogilevich, stating he needed Mogilevich’s approval to get into business in the first place.”

Firtash has been stranded in the Austrian capital, Vienna, since 2014, when federal prosecutors in Chicago unsealed an indictment charging him with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a federal law that makes it a crime for corporations and their subsidiaries to bribe foreign officials.

Prosecutors have asked the court to revoke Parnas’ bail, arguing that his foreign ties and funds pose an extreme flight risk.

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