(Refiles to fix typo in “his” in 5th paragraph)
By Karen Freifeld
(Reuters) -U.S. investigators are seeking to review Rudy Giuliani’s phones and computers for communications with more than a dozen people, including a high-ranking prosecutor in Ukraine, according to a warrant executed at his apartment this week.
They also are searching for communications with any U.S. government official or employee relating to Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was ousted by the Trump administration in 2019, the warrant says.
Agents seized more than 10 cell phones and computers from Giuliani’s Manhattan apartment and office in raids on Wednesday, according to his lawyer, Bob Costello, who read the search warrant to a Reuters reporter.
According to the warrant, investigators are looking for evidence that Giuliani acted as an unregistered foreign agent, a violation of lobbying laws.
Giuliani said in a statement following the raids that his “conduct as a lawyer and a citizen was absolutely legal and ethical.” A spokesman for the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office declined to comment.
The list of the people identified in the warrant includes:
Ukrainian-born Parnas and Belarus-born Fruman are two Florida-based businessmen who helped Giuliani dig up dirt on Joe Biden and his son Hunter before the 2020 presidential election and push to remove Yovanovitch.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have accused Parnas and Fruman of using a shell company to make an illegal $325,000 donation to a committee supporting Trump’s re-election. The men have pleaded not guilty to violating campaign finance laws and other charges. A trial is scheduled for October.
A lawyer for Fruman declined to comment. A lawyer for Parnas did not respond to a request for comment.
A confectionary magnate and one of Ukraine’s richest men, Poroshenko took power in 2014 and served as the country’s president until 2019. At Giuliani’s direction, Parnas and Fruman met Poroshenko in February 2019, while he was still in office, and pressed him to announce investigations into Hunter Biden and purported Ukrainian interference in the 2016 presidential election in exchange for a state visit, the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post reported.
Poroshenko’s office told Reuters on Friday that he held two meetings with Giuliani in his capacity as President Donald Trump’s “special envoy” during which they discussed Russian aggression, fighting disinformation and how to strengthen the alliance between Kyiv and Washington.
Mamedov, who currently serves as a high-ranking prosecutor in Ukraine, was a key intermediary in Giuliani’s efforts to press Ukraine to open investigations that would tarnish Biden, according to NBC News.
He played a role in setting up a meeting between Giuliani and Ukrainian officials, NBC reported. A spokesperson for Mamedov had no immediate comment on investigators looking at communications with Giuliani.
Shokin became Ukraine’s general prosecutor in February 2015 and led an investigation into the energy company Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company where Biden’s son Hunter was a board member from 2014 to 2019.
Shokin was removed from his job in 2016 following accusations of corruption by Western diplomats.
Giuliani told Reuters he met with Shokin over Skype in late 2018.
Shokin could not be reached for comment on Friday, according to his lawyer.
Lutsenko succeeded Shokin as general prosecutor. In 2019, Lutsenko told John Solomon, a U.S. columnist, that he had evidence related to the Bidens and Burisma. Later that year Lutsenko told Reuters he found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Biden’s son in his relationship with the energy firm.
Giuliani told Reuters in 2019 that he met with Lutsenko twice early that year.
“I didn’t correspond with Giuliani. I didn’t even have his phone (number),” Lutsenko told Reuters on Friday. “We didn’t communicate in any regular way.”
Kulyk, a former Ukrainian prosecutor, also worked on the country’s investigations into Burisma. Giuliani told Reuters he met with Kulyk in Paris in 2019. Kulyk did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday.
A Ukrainian businessman and former lawmaker, Zagoriy attended a meeting between Giuliani and Lutsenko in January 2019, according to documents released by the U.S. State Department. Zagoriy could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.
Correia, another Florida businessman, pleaded guilty last year to making false statements to the Federal Election Commission, and duping investors in Fraud Guarantee, a company he founded with Parnas that paid Giuliani $500,000. A lawyer for Correia did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.
Toensing and diGenova are married Washington lawyers who helped Giuliani represent Trump in his post-election lawsuits. They represented Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash, who is fighting extradition from Vienna on U.S. bribery and racketeering charges. FBI agents raided the couple’s home earlier this week and seized a cellphone used by Toensing.
Toensing and diGenova did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.
Solomon worked for The Hill, a Washington newspaper and website covering Congress, when he wrote a series of pieces that Yovanovitch testified to Congress were part of a smear campaign against her that Giuliani appeared to be behind. The Hill later said Solomon failed to identify important details about key Ukrainian sources, including the fact that they had been indicted or were under investigation.
Solomon did not respond to requests for comment.
(Reporting by Karen Freifeld in New York; Additional reporting by Jan Wolfe and Mark Hosenball in Washington and Natalia Zinets, Matthias Williams and Ilya Zhegulev in Kyiv; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Daniel Wallis)