Rudy Giuliani’s questionable business entanglements

Rudy Giuliani in Washington D.C.
Rudy Giuliani in Washington D.C.
ALBERT H. TEICH/Shutterstock
Rudy Giuliani in Washington D.C.

Rudy Giuliani’s questionable business entanglements

From representing dubious foreign clients to making suspicious donations, the former mayor keeps popping up.
December 2, 2019

The allegations against former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani just keep on comin’. 

The House of Representatives’ impeachment hearings are well underway and witnesses have been consistently placing the blame of the Trump-Ukraine scheme directly onto Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney. 

But that’s not the only charge levied against Giuliani recently. 

In case you’re not all caught up, here are the latest updates on the former mayor’s ethically or even legally dubious business interests and associations. We will undoubtedly continue to update this post as more details about Giuliani’s unscrupulous practices comes to light.

Giuliani’s firm is being investigated by the feds

On Nov. 25, The Washington Post reported that federal prosecutors in the Department of Justice’s Southern District of New York office are investigating Giuliani’s dealings with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who both already face campaign finance charges and accusations of making false statements to the Federal Election Commission.

“The federal investigation into two associates of Rudolph W. Giuliani is exploring a wide range of potential crimes — including wire fraud and failure to register as a foreign agent — as prosecutors dig into the pair’s interactions with the president’s personal lawyer and the main pro-Trump super PAC,” the Post reported, referring to Parnas and Fruman and America First Action, the pro-Trump ­super PAC set up by the president’s advisors. 

Investigators are also looking into possible crimes including destruction or alteration of documents, aiding and abetting federal crimes and foreign contributions to U.S. candidates. Giuliani has denied committing any of these crimes. 

Lobbied the Justice Department on behalf of a wealthy Venzeulan 

During his August visit to Madrid, to meet with an aide to Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Giuliani also met with wealthy Venzeulan energy executive Alejandro Betancourt López, according to the Post. Betancourt López solicited Giuliani to contest the Justice Department’s money laundering and bribery allegations against him. 

In September, Giuliani and several other lawyers met with the chief of the Justice Department’s criminal division on behalf of Betancourt López, arguing that he should not be slapped with criminal charges due to a $1.2 billion money-laundering suit filed the year before. The lawsuit alleged that top executives who worked for a Venezuelan state-owned oil company – such as Betancourt López – attempted to steal money and lauder it through real estate and other investments in Miami. Betancourt López, was not charged in the case. Although he was mentioned in the actual complaint, he has yet to be convicted of any crimes.

Intended to work with Ukraine’s top prosecutors

In the same month Giuliani was working with Yuri Lutsenko, Ukraine’s top prosecutor, to investigate the Bidens, Giuliani was in the midst of securing a deal to represent Lutsenko for $200,000, the Post reported

The pair began hammering out an agreement in January and February, during meetings to discuss the information provided by Lutsenko regarding the Bidens and allegations that Ukraine had interfered with the 2016 American presidential election. During this time, Lutsenko was also pursuing the recovery of assets he believed were stolen from Kyiv. 

Lutsenko having Giuliani as his representation would have benefited him by giving him more direct access to U.S. officials through the attorney’s relationship with the president, while Giuliani would have profited from Lutsenko’s insights that could prove damaging for the president’s political opponent – and a sizeable pay day. 

Though, the deal ultimately fell through, a draft of a retainer agreement from March reportedly revealed that Giuliani Partners would have received $300,000 from Ukraine’s Ministry of Justice for recovering stolen assets. Giualiani has asserted that he did not provide services or receive any payments from Lutsenko or Ukraine.

Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
is City & State's web reporter and social media editor.