One of the most potentially explosive connections in the metastasizing Trump/Giuliani/Ukraine scandal is that of Dmitry Firtash.
A middleman in the gas trade between Ukraine and Russia who federal prosecutors describe as an “upper-echelon” member of the Russian mafia, Firtash appears to be using debunked allegations that Giuliani has made against Joe Biden in a last-ditch bid to prevent his extradition from Austria to the United States on foreign bribery charges.
He has long argued that the case against him is politically motivated, and his legal team appears to see the dirt that President Trump wanted to Ukraine to manufacture against Biden as potentially useful to his case.
A new Wall Street Journal report reinforces the point, while adding intriguing new timing.
Take a look at the following paragraph:
In June, Mr. Firtash was introduced to Lev Parnas, a Florida businessman who aided Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, according to the person with knowledge of the tycoon’s Vienna legal strategy. Mr. Parnas recommended hiring Mr. DiGenova and Ms. Toensing, the lawyers who back Mr. Trump. The lawyers in turn brought Mr. Parnas on as a translator, their law firm said in a statement.
Parnas is the Giuliani buddy who was indicted last week, and who allegedly pressured Ukrainian prosecutors to fabricate dirt for President Trump’s benefit.
It’s not clear from the Journal report who introduced Firtash to Parnas.
But if Parnas first met with the Ukrainian gas oligarch in June, it suggests that Firtash only entered the picture after Giuliani’s plan to push Kyiv to manufacture dirt about Biden was already public, and had been for months.
Furthermore, it suggests that Parnas and his longtime associate Igor Fruman may have been going oligarch-by-oligarch through Ukraine.
The pair had enraged another Ukrainian bigwig named Igor Kolomoisky the month before, after allegedly asking him to set up a meeting with the country’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. That culminated in Parnas and Fruman suing Kolomoisky, accusing him of threatening to have them killed. Kolomoisky denied the allegation, and later settled the case out of court.
It now appears that only one month after that brouhaha, Parnas came a’knockin on Firtash’s door in Vienna. And, as we’ve seen from the Journal report and elsewhere, it was at least briefly lucrative for Parnas: he and two Fox News talking heads he brought on to the legal team – Joe DiGenova and Victoria Toensing – raked in $1 million from the Vienna-stranded oligarch for their efforts.