Rudy Giuliani’s associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, last seen helping Republican Rep. Devin Nunes cook up a taxpayer-funded international smear campaign against former Vice President Joe Biden, have also been busy plotting in Ukraine. Andrew Favorov, the head of natural gas for the state-run Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz, met with federal prosecutors in New York, telling them that Parnas and Fruman tried to recruit him to help them oust Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev.
The two told Favorov that Kobolyev was part of “this Soros cartel” that included then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch working against Donald Trump. Favorov said they asked him, “You’re a Republican, right? […] We want you to be our guy.” Being “our guy” apparently meant helping them enrich themselves with a takeover of Naftogaz, a huge company comprising about 10% of the country’s gross domestic product, with almost total control of the country’s natural gas. Parnas and Fruman tried to use their ties to Giuliani—and Trump—to capture Favorov. It didn’t work: He refused their advances and informed his boss, Kobolyev, of the plot.
Prosecutors are focusing on the extent to which Giuliani was trying to personally profit from the deals Parnas and Fruman have been cooking up, apparently a side project to getting dirt on Biden for Trump. Favorov told The Wall Street Journal that the two men “touted their close relationships with President Trump and Mr. Giuliani, showing Mr. Favorov pictures of themselves with the president and his personal lawyer” at the meeting last March.