The fourth man indicted in an alleged criminal scheme was arrested on Wednesday.
David Correia, a 44-year-old American businessman who lives in Florida, was taken into federal custody after flying Wednesday to JFK Airport in New York City to turn himself in.
He and the three other defendants—Ukrainians Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who also reside in Florida, and Ukrainian-born U.S. citizen Andrey Kukushkin, who lives in California—were expected to appear Thursday in federal court in Manhattan on charges they made illegal contributions to politicians and a political action committee. Parnas and Fruman have been linked to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s lawyer.
Giuliani has said he had no knowledge of illegal donations and hadn’t seen any evidence that Parnas and Fruman did anything wrong. He said the timing of the arrests was suspicious.
“Parnas and Igor helped me on certain things. They helped me with logistics. They know the Ukraine, they speak Russian. They helped me locate people in a few cases,” Giuliani told Reuters last week.
A lawyer for Correia is not yet listed in court records.
Federal authorities said on Oct. 10 that the defendants conspired to violate the ban on foreign donations and contributions in connection with federal and state elections. Some of the illegal contributions were made to a political action committee supporting Trump, authorities said.
According to the indictment (pdf), Parnas and Fruman began attending political fundraising events in March 2018 and made a $325,000 contribution to an independent expenditure committee and a $15,000 contribution to another committee.
Authorities said they concealed the true donor of the funds, reporting that the money came from Global Energy Producers (GEP), when the money actually came “from a private lending transaction between Fruman and third parties.”
“PARNAS and FRUMAN deliberately made the contributions in GEP’s name in order to evade federal reporting requirements and to conceal that they were the true source of the contributions, including so as to hide from creditors the fact that they had access to funding,” authorities stated.
The men were said to have committed in June 2018 to raising tens of thousands of dollars for a sitting U.S. Congressman, from whom they sought assistance removing the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine at the time.
Correia and Kukushkin were allegedly involved in a separate scheme that took money from an unnamed foreign national “to attempt to gain influence and the appearance of influence with politicians and candidates.”
That included donating $10,000 to a candidate for statewide office in Nevada.
All four were charged with one count of conspiring to violate the ban on foreign donations and contributions in connection with federal and state elections, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Parnas and Fruman were also each charged with three other counts, which together carry up to 30 years in prison.
“The defendants broke the law to gain political influence while avoiding disclosure of who was actually making the donations and where the money was coming from. They sought political influence not only to advance their own financial interests but to advance the political interests of at least one foreign official—a Ukrainian government official who sought the dismissal of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. Protecting the integrity of our elections—and protecting our elections from unlawful foreign influence—are core functions of our campaign finance laws,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman said in a statement.
“And as this Office has made clear, we will not hesitate to investigate and prosecute those who engage in criminal conduct that draws into question the integrity of our political process.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.