Three Democratic committee chairmen of the US House of Representatives have subpoenaed Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, two associates of US president Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani as part of their impeachment inquiry against the US president, CNN has reported.
Mr Fruman and Mr Parnas, formerly Belarusian and Ukrainian nationals, were charged by the Manhattan US Attorney on October 10 for funneling foreign money into the US elections. The indictment issued against them includes further charges of conspiracy, making false statements to the US Federal Election Commission and the falsification of records.
According to the indictment, the two businessmen made an illegal donation of 325,000 US dollars to an unknown member of the US House of Representatives, who appears to be Republican congressman Pete Sessions and asked him to help them remove Marie Louse Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine.
Mrs Yovanovich, who was fired in May for allegedly not being loyal to the US president, is now at the centre of a congressional impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats who claim that Mr Trump pushed Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, his chief political rival in the 2020 US presidential election, over his son’s involvement in a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma Holdings, and withheld military aid for Ukraine at the same time.
Mr Giuliani, who denies any wrongdoing, said that the two businessmen had introduced him to former and current Ukrainian government officials who provided him with information that he believes is damaging for the Bidens.
While there is no evidence of wrongdoing against the former US vice president and his son, Hunter Biden, Ukraine’s prosecutor general Ruslan Riaboshapka announced that he would review the file on Burisma Holdings.
Meantime, US energy secretary Rick Perry, who has repeatedly met Mr Zelensky over the last few months, was subpoenaed by congressional Democrats for Ukraine-related documents.
Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the EU, who is regarded as one of the key witnesses in Mr Trump’s Ukrainian actions, also intends to testify, his lawyers confirmed.
Speaking to reporters on October 10, US vice president Mike Pence said that he was working on releasing the transcripts of his earlier calls with the Ukrainian president. “(…) All of our discussions internally, between the president and our team, and our contacts and my office with Ukraine, were entirely focused on the broader issues of the lack of European support and corruption,” Mr Pence said on October 10.