An associate of Rudy Giuliani hatched a scheme to funnel $1 million in funds from a wealthy Russian financier into U.S. elections knowing full well he was breaking campaign finance laws, a prosecutor said Thursday during closing arguments at a federal trial.
Evidence shows that Lev Parnas and a co-defendant, Andrey Kukushkin, used “lies and tricks” to conceal the source of the money, Assistant U.S. Attorney Hagan Scotten told a New York City jury.
Parnas made a series of straw donations despite being “told again and again that he couldn’t donate somebody else’s money,” Scotten said.
The defendant lied to the financier, Andrey Muraviev, about how much he was actually donating, the prosecutor said. He also failed to come through on pledges he was making to candidates, he added.
“Put simply, Parnas is ripping everybody off,” he said.
Defense attorneys were expected to give their closing arguments later Thursday.
Florida businessperson Parnas and Kukushkin have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to use the investment from Muraviev to contribute to politicians they thought could advance their business interests, including an energy company and the legal marijuana industry startups. Giuliani is not charged in the case.