Trump allies pressed Ukraine over gas firm - AP

The group reportedly touted connections to Giuliani and Trump while trying to install new management at the top of Ukraine’s massive state gas company.

By IDAN ZONSHINE
October 7, 2019 04:28
1 minute read.
Trump allies pressed Ukraine over gas firm - AP

US President Donald Trump waves to the media before boarding Air Force One in Maryland on April 27. (photo credit: YURI GRIPAS / REUTERS)

A circle of businessmen and Republican donors with ties to US President Donald Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani actively attempted to replace the board members of Ukranian gas company Naftogaz last spring, Associated Press reported. All the while, Guiliani was in Ukraine, attempting to influence Ukranian officials to investigate Trump's political rival, Joe Biden.

The group reportedly touted connections to Giuliani and Trump while trying to install new management at the top of Ukraine’s massive state gas company.

At the center of the Naftogaz plan, according to three individuals familiar with the details, were three such businessmen: two Soviet-born Florida real estate entrepreneurs, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, and an oil magnate from Boca Raton, Florida, named Harry Sargeant III.

In early March, Fruman, Parnas and Sargeant were touting a plan to replace Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev with another senior executive at the company, Andrew Favorov, according to two individuals who spoke to the AP as well as a memorandum about the meeting that was later submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Kiev.

Their plan was to then steer lucrative contracts to companies controlled by Trump allies, according to two people with knowledge of their plans, but their plans fell apart once Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko lost his reelection campaign to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the man now at the center of the House impeachment inquiry of Trump

It’s unclear if Perry’s attempts to replace board members at Naftogaz were coordinated with the Giuliani allies pushing for a similar outcome, and no one has alleged that there is criminal activity in any of these efforts. And it’s unclear what role, if any, Giuliani had in helping his clients push to get gas sales agreements with the state-owned company.


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