Giuliani Investigators Seized Ukrainian Emails, Lawyer Says
(Bloomberg) -- Federal prosecutors in New York seized email account evidence believed to belong to the former prosecutor general of Ukraine, Yuriy Lutsenko, and two other Ukrainians as part of their investigation into whether Rudy Giuliani violated U.S. laws against covert foreign lobbying, a partially redacted court filing shows.
The others whose communications were seized were Roman Nasirov, the former head of the Ukrainian Fiscal Service, and Alexander Levin, a Ukrainian American businessman and supporter of former President Donald Trump, according to a Tuesday filing by Joseph Bondy, a lawyer for Lev Parnas, a Giuliani associate facing campaign finance and other charges.
The names of the Ukrainians were redacted, but the redaction was done in such a way that the names became visible when the text was copied and pasted into a word processing document. According to the filing, the searches of the Ukrainians were described by the government in a May 14 letter to Bondy, who argued that evidence along with material seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in April 28 raids on Giuliani’s home and office would likely exonerate his client.
Bondy declined to comment. A spokesman for the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office also declined to comment. Bob Costello, a lawyer for Giuliani, didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The email account belonging to Nasirov was seized in early March of last year, and an iPhone and iPad belonging to Levin were seized in February and March of last year. Neither of the men nor Lutsenko has been accused of any wrongdoing.
Giuliani, Parnas and Igor Fruman, another Giuliani associate, were all involved in trying to dig up political dirt on Joe Biden in Ukraine ahead of the 2020 election. Trump’s effort to push the Ukrainian government to launch an investigation of Biden led to his first impeachment.
Lutsenko was identified in the course of the impeachment probe as a primary source of information to Giuliani and others that was used to smear and ultimately oust the then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Prosecutors are investigating whether the former New York mayor and personal lawyer to Trump sought Yovanovitch’s removal as a favor to Ukrainian interests.
A spokeswoman for Lutsenko said the former prosecutor general acted properly under Ukrainian law and was open to speaking to U.S. law enforcement agencies.
Levin, a onetime emigre to the U.S. who returned to Ukraine, said in an interview Tuesday that he was detained and questioned at New York’s JFK airport in February 2020, shortly after Parnas and Fruman were charged with funneling foreign money into U.S. election campaigns.
‘Never Met Giuliani’
Levin said he’s been cooperating with the investigation ever since and was questioned about Giuliani but had little to say.
“I never met Giuliani, I never talked to him,” said Levin. “I know him as a former New York mayor.”
Levin said he lost money on a deal with Parnas and Fruman and described them in unflattering terms, but he said they did not appear to be the main focus of the investigation.
“I don’t think they’re interested in them,” Levin said of federal prosecutors. “They’re interested in Giuliani and about Trump or something.”
Nasirov, who once led Ukraine’s tax agency, was an investor in a real estate project backed by Parnas, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The email account believed to belong to Lutsenko was seized in November 2019, around the same time prosecutors obtained covert warrants to search the iCloud account of Giuliani and a Google account belonging to Victoria Toensing, a Washington D.C. lawyer close to Trump.
Lutsenko became a client of Toensing’s in mid-April 2019, around the same time a series of articles began appearing in a Washington-area newspaper claiming Yovanovitch denigrated Trump, according to House impeachment investigators. Those allegations, which she denied, ultimately led to her removal.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.