Giuliani-Linked Duo Pleads Not Guilty In Alleged Campaign Finance Conspiracy

NEW YORK — Two out of four defendants in the Rudy Giuliani-linked alleged campaign finance scheme were arraigned in Manhattan federal court on Thursday.

David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy before District Judge J. Paul Oetken for the Southern District of New York.

Kukushkin was arrested last week. Correia surrendered to U.S. authorities at JFK International Airport on Wednesday upon arriving in New York from overseas.

Prosecutors said the investigation was ongoing and referenced more than 50 bank accounts and 10 email accounts whose records were in possession of the government.

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Kukushkin is represented by Gerald Lefcourt and Faith Friedman. Lefcourt has represented numerous famous clients in high profile cases, including Jeffrey Epstein, Russell Crowe, and New York real estate mogul Harry Helmsley. Correia is represented by Jeff Marcus and William Harrington. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rebekah Donaleski and Nicolas Roos represented the government at the hearing.

Oetken approved a $1 million bail package for Kukushkin, which required him to surrender two passports.

Roos said that the arraignment of two other defendants — Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman — had been delayed until next Wednesday because Parnas had not yet met his bail conditions, while Fruman was released Wednesday night. He told Oetken that Parnas could not be extradited to New York until the Manhattan federal judge issued an order.

Roos and Donaleski were reportedly also assigned to the investigation into the Trump Org, while Roos had a role in the prosecution of Michael Cohen.

Manhattan federal prosecutors indicted the four last week, accusing Parnas and Fruman of evading federal reporting requirements to funnel money into Republican campaign coffers.

Both Kukushkin and Correia appear in the second half of last week’s indictment, tied to an alleged scheme to procure licenses for the sale of recreational marijuana.

Kukushkin and Correia allegedly conspired with Fruman and Parnas to funnel money from a Russian pot investor into state-level Nevada electoral campaigns, part of a convoluted plan to get marijuana retail licenses after the group missed a key Nevada deadline.

The group supposedly convinced an unnamed foreign national to give them $1 million to further the scheme, in two installments of $500,000. The indictment says that around $20,000 ended up flowing into the coffers of two state-level Nevada candidates.

A May 2019 Russian press report ties Kukushkin to Russian investment in the budding market for U.S. cannabis.

Correia, for his part, appears to have closer ties to Parnas and Fruman than Kukushkin does.

Correia is a director at Fraud Guarantee along with Parnas. That Boca Raton-based company sells anti-fraud insurance to investors, and reportedly paid Giuliani $500,000 last year.

A longtime West Palm Beach, Florida resident, Correia also has a link to Global Energy Producers — the firm that, according to the indictment, Parnas falsely said was the origin of a $325,000 contribution to a pro-Trump Super PAC.

That political committee — America First Action — hosted an event that Fruman, Parnas, and Correia attended.

Correia also was initially marked down as an agent for the firm that actually made the contribution, Aaron Investments.

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