SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A Ukrainian-born California businessman who has been indicted in New York on charges of violating campaign finance law was arrested in San Francisco Thursday and appeared briefly in federal court in the city.

Andrey Kukushkin, 46, is one of four people named in a grand jury indictment announced Thursday by U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman of the Southern District of New York.

(OK.Ru/Andrey Kukushkin)

The others, all Florida residents, include two associates of presidential lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Ukrainian-born Lev Parnas, 47, and Belarus-born Igor Fruman, 54, and a fourth defendant, David Correia, who was born in the United States. The four men are all U.S. citizens.

The indictment was unsealed after Parnas and Fruman were arrested Wednesday night as they prepared to board a flight to Europe at Dulles International Airport in Virginia. Berman said they had one-way tickets.

Kukushkin was arrested in San Francisco Thursday morning, according to William Sweeney, assistant chief of the FBI’s New York field office. He made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Jacqueline Scott Corley in San Francisco and was ordered to be held in custody until a detention hearing on Friday, according to court records.

He is expected to be transferred to New York at a later date to face the charges there.

All four defendants are accused of conspiring in a scheme to disguise contributions of $10,000 each to two Nevada state office candidates from an unnamed Russian businessman who wanted to obtain licenses for marijuana businesses. Federal law prohibits campaign contributions from foreign nationals.

Parnas and Fruman, but not Kukushkin, are also charged in the indictment with an additional conspiracy to make disguised contributions to an unnamed member of Congress to promote the interests of at least one Ukrainian government official.

In one incident cited in the indictment, the two men allegedly sought the congressman’s assistance in advocating for the removal of the U.S.  ambassador to Ukraine. The ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, was recalled by the State Department on May 20.

The House intelligence, foreign affairs and oversight committees on Thursday issued subpoenas to Parnas and Fruman for documents related to their activities in Ukraine, for use in Congress’s inquiry into the possible impeachment of President Donald Trump.

In a previous letter to the Intelligence Committee, John Dowd, a civil lawyer for Parnas and Fruman, said the two men have been represented by Giuliani in connection with their personal and business affairs, and also said they have assisted Giuliani in his representation of Trump. The indictment does not mention Giuliani.

 

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