Russian oligarch Andrey Muraviev accused of illegal political donations in US

Topline

Russian businessman Andrey Muraviev has been accused of make illegal political contributions and conspiring to donate $1 million to influence the 2018 US election, US prosecutors announced on Monday.

Highlights

In a statement, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said Muraviev attempted to “corrupt” the US political system and “advance their business interestsby making donations to candidates, which is illegal for foreign nationals.

Muraviev would have plotted contribute financially to American candidates alongside Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, both ex-associates of former President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giulani— as well as Andrey Kukushkin and others who have been convicted or pleaded guilty to similar crimes, according to the Justice Department.

The DOJ accused Muraviev of conspiring with the three to obscure the source of the donations, which allegedly went to politicians who were “favorableto its business interests.

Muraviev – who the DOJ says is still in Russia – faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

The indictment was released in September 2020 but unsealed on Monday.

Tangent

Muraviev owned a cement business in Russia before founding his own investment company, Capital Parusaccording to New York Times. The US government is trying to pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin to back down from invading Ukraine by targeting powerful and wealthy Russian nationals.

Key Context

DOJ says Muraviev agreed to wire $1 million through multiple bank accounts to Fruman and Parnas, intending to fund political candidates who could help him, Kukushkin, Fruman and Parnas acquire cannabis licenses for a business the men started in 2018. Money transferred by Muraviev was reportedly used for political donations in Florida, Nevada and Texas, and the DOJ says he agreed to use the funds to pay for donations for political candidates from New York and New Jersey. . The money was sent to a bank account controlled by Fruman’s brother before the donations were made in Fruman’s and Parnas’ names to avoid suspicion, according to a DOJ statement Monday. Parnas, Fruman and Kukushkin were all convicted of campaign finance violations last year. According to prosecutors, approximately $150,000 was actually given to politicians in the United States.

Further reading

Russian businessman funded account of former Giuliani associates, court records show (Reuters)