Giuliani associate sanctioned over foreign interference in 2020 election

The Treasury Department on Thursday sanctioned pro-Russian Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Derkach over his alleged attempts to interfere with the 2020 presidential election. The post Giuliani associate sanctioned over foreign interference in 2020 election appeared first on OpenSecrets News.

Giuliani associate sanctioned over foreign interference in 2020 election
President Donald Trump’s lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani talks to journalists outside the White House on July 1, 2020. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Treasury Department on Thursday sanctioned pro-Russian Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Derkach over his alleged attempts to interfere with the 2020 presidential election by planting misleading accusations of corruption against Democratic nominee Joe Biden

Derkach is linked to the Kremlin and is the son of a former KGB officer. He worked with President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani to supply conservative news outlets with dirt on Biden and his son, Hunter. Derkach also sent information about the former vice president to Senate Republicans investigating the Bidens, prompting U.S. intelligence officials to warn lawmakers not to participate in foreign influence campaigns. 

Trump has insisted that Russia is not trying to boost his campaign, but multiple Trump administration agencies have said the opposite. The Treasury Department on Thursday labeled Derkach “an active Russian agent for over a decade” and indicated that he “waged a covert influence campaign centered on cultivating false and unsubstantiated narratives” to influence the upcoming 2020 election. The Treasury’s designation will freeze Derkach’s assets in the U.S.

Derkach publicly released edited tapes portraying a false narrative of conversations between Biden and former Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko. As vice president, Biden threatened to withhold aid to Ukraine unless Poroshenko fired the nation’s top prosecutor whom Western nations criticized as being corrupt. Derkach also tried to spur “corruption investigations in both Ukraine and the United States designed to culminate prior to election day,” according to the Treasury Department.

Trump appeared to bring up Derkach’s tape earlier this week at a Labor Day press conference at the White House, telling the press corps, “he’s right on tape and you don’t want to cover it. You should be ashamed of yourselves.”

OpenSecrets’ Foreign Lobby Watch database sheds some light on Derkach’s foreign influence campaign. From February through July, Derkach contracted with a firm called Global Management Association Corp in an attempt to set up meetings with the White House and members of Congress. 

Derkach met with Giuliani and claims they “discussed available information on international corruption and the need to investigate it in the United States.” Planned activities in Justice Department records filed in April included “meeting with US officials” but the foreign agents did not disclose making any U.S. government contacts for Derkach before the contract ended, according to his most recent FARA filing on Aug. 15. 

Giuliani, who spoke at the Republican National Convention last month, has reportedly come under scrutiny from federal prosecutors for failing to register as a foreign agent. He also worked with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman to allegedly funnel foreign money to pro-Trump super PAC America First Action. Foreign influence laws aren’t often enforced, but in 2018 a jury convicted former Trump campaign official Paul Manafort for failing to register as a foreign agent of the Ukrainian government in 2018, among other charges.  

The firm Derkach worked with, Global Management Association Corp., is little more than a rebranded shell company that served as a Russian-linked oil company’s foreign agent to buy Ukrainian polling data in 2019. Andrii Artemenko, an associate of Giuliani and business partner of Erik Prince who came under scrutiny during the Mueller probe, ran Global Management Association Corp using the name “Andy Victor Kuchma.” 

Artemenko previously collaborated with Michael Cohen, Felix Sater and Michael Flynn to push for a plan to lift U.S. sanctions on Russia. Artemenko’s wife, Oksana Kuchma, who is listed as an officer on records for many of his companies, incorporated what appears to be a new company in Florida called K&D III LLC in 2019 but it has kept a low profile and its function is not yet clear. One of the officers on the new company is Sergey Knyazev, is the chairman of the Ukrainian National Police and who met with Trump in 2018.  

House Democrats impeached Trump late last year over charges that he solicited foreign interference from Ukrainian officials to help his reelection bid. The Senate acquitted Trump on a near party line vote. 

Former top Department of Homeland Security official Brian Murphy filed a whistleblower complaint Wednesday alleging that acting secretary Chad Wolf told him to stop providing assessments of Russian interference in the 2020 election. Murphy said those orders came from Robert O’Brien, Trump’s national security adviser

The post Giuliani associate sanctioned over foreign interference in 2020 election appeared first on OpenSecrets News.