According to a team of federal prosecutors, two of Rudy Giuliani’s close associates allegedly conspired with a foreign national to illegally secure a retail cannabis license in Nevada, and donated to two political candidates in an attempt to ensure that the license was approved. A damning paper trail of corruption continues to grow as investigative journalists continue to dredge up new documents and developments.
Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman and others were named in a recently unsealed indictment for allegedly conspiring with a foreign national in order to ensure the approval of a recreational cannabis license. Given that Giuliani is President Donald Trump’s personal attorney and current “fixer,” all eyes are on his private dealings.
Leafly correspondent and former CULTURE contributor David Downs reports that the indictment was unsealed by US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman. It contained various charges including an attempt to reelect a Congressman and remove the Ukraine ambassador, as well as the charges of promoting state candidates who would in turn approve the recreational cannabis license. Berman said on Oct. 10 during a televised hearing that David Correia, an American, and three Soviet-born Americans, Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman and Andrey Kukushkin, “broke the law to gain political influence and avoid disclosure as to where the money was coming from.”
The two political candidates who the team was accused of promoting were named only as “Candidate-1” and “Candidate-2.” Donations worth $10,000-20,000 were given to each candidate under Fruman’s name—but the money allegedly came from the foreign national instead. Leafly goes on to mention that political contribution records may suggest that the candidates were Republicans Adam Paul Laxalt and Wesley Karl Duncan.
According to the indictment, an entity called Global Energy Producers was actually a shell company that was created by the team to launder cash and hide the paper trail. Parnas, Fruman, Correia and Kukushkin allegedly accepted $1 million from the foreign national with detailed plans of how to secure the recreational cannabis license. The reason the candidates were needed to be elected is because the team missed a licensing deadline—by two months—that the political candidates could have fixed, if elected.
The indictment mentions that both political candidates were aware that the donations were considered illegal. It’s important to note, however, that corruption and bribery in the state cannabis licensing systems are very common, including in Nevada. And that this in no way is an isolated incident.
Parnas and Fruman were promptly arrested at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia on Oct. 9 in an attempt to leave the U.S., federal prosecutors announced at a press conference Oct. 11.