It wasn’t clear why Rudy Giuliani took a day in November 2017 to travel to the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.
Now, more light has been shed on Giuliani and his oddball Ukrainian associates – according to a new profile of Russian-Ukrainian oligarch Pavel Fuchs, Giuliani is working to “create a U.S. office for supporting investment in the city.” The profile was published Nov. 12 in the Ukrainian magazine Novoye Vremya.
Fuchs – known mainly for negotiating with the Trump Organization for a Trump Moscow project – has arguably been one of Giuliani’s murkiest connections in his global consulting business.
For more than a decade, the former New York City mayor has consulted for unsavory clients around the world, from a recent sojourn to Armenia to a 2004 journey to meet a Russian billionaire in the steel town of Magnitogorsk.
But Fuchs – photographed above in New York with Giuliani in July 2017 – could mark a new low in Giuliani’s foreign consulting career.
Fuchs, a Kharkiv native, has reportedly been under investigation in Ukraine for alleged corruption surrounding a deal to buy $160 million in frozen assets of the country’s former President Viktor Yanukovych, who was deposed in February 2014. Yanukovych was the former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s prime Ukraine client for more than a decade. Manafort pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges arising from his Ukraine work and is now cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
Fuchs built his wealth in Moscow throughout the 1990s and 2000s, amassing investments in energy, banking, and real estate.
In an Al Jazeera profile, Fuchs was quoted as telling a Russian TV host, “when I was young, I beat people up.”
“I don’t like it when someone lies to me,” he added.
Most notably, Fuchs was contracted to build Moscow-City, a complex of skyscrapers in the Russian capital along the Moscow river.
Fuchs’s position as a major real estate developer in Russia brought him into contact with the Trump Organization in June 2008, when the group was in negotiations to franchise its name to one of the towers in Fuchs’s Moscow-City complex.
“We were going to name one of the Moscow-City towers ‘Trump Tower’,” Fuchs recalled in a November 2017 interview. “Donald Trump’s son also wanted to enter the Russian luxury real estate market, he flew to us for negotiations many times.”
By 2017 – the year of Fuchs’s first documented meeting with Giuliani – he had relocated to Ukraine.
Fuchs pops up in photographs with Kharkiv’s mayor, Gennady Kernes, and was named an “honorary citizen” by him in 2014.
Kernes, who flaunts his love of New York City-related apparel on his Instagram account, initially sided with the outgoing Ukraine regime during the 2014 protests. After the revolution, he switched allegiances, but was accused and investigated over allegedly organizing the kidnapping and torture of protestors in his city. That case went nowhere, but accusations of reprisals and grand corruption have continued to dog the mayor.
Kernes’s city hired U.S. lobbyist Shai Franklin in 2016 to represent the city’s economic interests in Washington, though that relationship doesn’t appear from FARA filings to have continued.
By May 2017, Giuliani’s company Giuliani Security had inked an agreement with Kharkiv city government to review the city’s security services. A New York firm called Triglobal Strategic Ventures, a company the New York Times reported as “provid[ing] image consulting to Russian oligarchs and clients with deep Kremlin ties,” too credit in a press release for introducing the Ukraine city and Giuliani’s firm.
The New York City meeting with Fuchs occurred in July 2017, and Giuliani visited Kharkiv in November 2017. Giuliani hosted a delegation from Kharkiv in New York City in March.
It’s not clear whether Giuliani has undertaken any activities to promote Kharkiv – or Fuchs – in the U.S. A review of FARA found no record of Giuliani ever registering as a foreign lobbyist.
Giuliani and Fuchs did not reply to requests for comment.