A pro-Russian Ukrainian official who fed Rudy Giuliani dirt before the 2020 election is now facing federal charges in the U.S.
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn charged Andriy Derkach, a former Ukrainian MP, with money laundering and bank fraud violations while calling him a “Russian intelligence agent.”
Derkach’s name may not be familiar, but he was behind quite a bit of news in the run-up to the 2020 election and during the first Trump impeachment.
Rudy Giuliani was in search of damaging information, true or not, about then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Trump pressured the Ukrainian government to announce investigations into Biden, an act that got him impeached.
In the middle of it all, in December 2019, Giuliani flew to Kyiv on a dirt-digging mission. There, he met with a host of ne’er-do-wells that included Derkach.
At the time, Derkach was widely seen as a pro-Russian figure. He had also been making loud, public claims alleging that the Democratic party was behind various arcane corruption schemes in Ukraine.
He never offered any proof for those claim, but did, in May 2020, launch a website which showed what claimed to be leaked audio conversations featuring Joe Biden during his time as vice president.
It was dismissed as an obvious setup, and Derkach was hit with Treasury Department sanctions for being a “Russian agent” in September 2020.
Per the indictment, issued by a Brooklyn federal grand jury in September 2022 but unsealed this week, the alleged Russian agent laundered money into the purchase and maintenance of two luxury condos in Beverly Hills throughout the 2010s. Derkach allegedly wired $3.92 million from accounts in Latvia and Switzerland into the U.S. in furtherance of the scheme.
He faces up to 30 years in prison on the charges. Derkach remains at large, the DOJ said. It’s not clear if Derkach is in Ukraine or Russia or somewhere else. A Telegram account associated with Derkach last posted in January 2022, weeks before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Websites he created to advertise himself and his claims about the Bidens are no longer active.