President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani reportedly planned to fly to Vienna, Austria, a day after his now-arrested associates attempted to flee the country with one-way tickets to the city, reports The Atlantic.
The news outlet reported that it was unclear why Trump’s personal lawyer was traveling to Vienna, but that he had said he couldn’t meet with one of the magazine’s reporters on Thursday evening due to his expected travel.
Giuliani associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were both carrying one-way tickets to Vienna when they were arrested at Dulles International Airport in Virginia on Wednesday night.
Giuliani told The Wall Street Journal that Parnas and Fruman were headed to Vienna for business-related reasons but declined to elaborate.
He said he planned to meet with them when they returned to Washington, the newspaper reported.
The Atlantic reported that when it contacted Giuliani to ask about his upcoming Vienna trip on Thursday, a woman who said she was the former New York City mayor’s communications director told the magazine that she would get back to the reporter on the matter.
Giuliani reportedly later texted, saying, “I can’t comment on it at this time.”
Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York’s office said in a press conference Thursday afternoon that Parnas and Fruman were arrested at Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia and were accused of violating campaign finance laws in order to give money to Republican committees including a $325,000 contribution in 2018 to a pro-Trump super PAC called America First Action.
“These allegations are not about some technicality, a civil violation or an error on a form,” William Sweeney, assistant director in charge at the FBI’s New York office, said at the press conference. “This investigation is about corrupt behavior [and] deliberate lawbreaking.”
“Protecting the integrity of our elections and protecting our elections from unlawful foreign influence are core functions of our campaign finance laws 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,” said U.S Attorney Geoffrey Berman.
Prosecutors also outlined charges against a third man, Andrey Kukushkin, who was arrested in California, and a fourth man, American businessman David Correia, who has been indicted but not yet arrested.
The men are accused of engaging in a scheme using a shell company called Global Energy Producers to funnel donations to numerous Republican political committees, including ones supporting Trump and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R).
The contributions, the indictment alleges, were “made for the purpose of gaining influence with politicians so as to advance their own personal financial interests and the political interests of Ukrainian government officials, including at least on Ukrainian government official with whom they were working.”
The organization made a $320,000 donation to America First Action, a pro-Trump super PAC in May 2018, according to campaign finance filings.