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'These allegations are shocking': Trump allies plotted to be Ukraine gas company's CEO


                                                                         

A group of wealthy Republican Party donors reportedly tried to install a new CEO at Ukraine’s state gas company, while touting their connections to the Trump administration and Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer.                                                                                                                                                                                                      ***************************************************************                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Rick Perry, US Energy Secretary, Naftogaz, the multibillion-dollar corporation.

                                                                                                                                                                                  

  

    

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The revelations will raise further questions over the White House’s role in forming Soviet republic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        

House Democrats have subpoenaed Mr Guiliani for documents related to many of the individuals involved, as part of an impeachment probe into the president.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

    

        

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“Allegations in this story are shocking,” Michael McFaul, the US ambassador to Russia, said on Twitter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two entrepreneurs based in Florida, were at the center of the group of donors.

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Harry Sargeant III, a third businessman and donor from Florida, was part of the effort, which occurred in spring 2019 as Rudy Giuliani was pushing Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

In March 2019 Andriy Kobolyev, the company’s CEO, with Andrew Favorov, another executive at the firm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          

  

    

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The plan was outlined in a document summarizing the meeting, which was submitted to the US embassy in Kyiv.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

The businessmen planned to ship 100 tankers a year of US liquefied gas to Ukraine, where Naftogaz is the largest distributor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

They approached Mr Favorov with the proposal, while he was attending a conference in Texas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Mr Sargeant told the executive that he regularly met the President at Mar-a-Lago and that the plan had Donald Trump’s full support.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Lev Parnas allegedly told Mr Favorov that the President planned to oust Marie Yovanovitch, the US ambassador to Ukraine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

He reportedly said he would be replaced by a group of business interests.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Mr Trump recalled Ms Yovanovich from her post weeks later, in May 2019.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Andrew Favorov reportedly felt the meeting was a shakedown or threat, according to his business partner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Around two weeks later, Rudy Giuliani, Mr Trump’s lawyer, puts Mr Parnas in Washington on 24 March 2019.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

They also put with Healy E Baumgardner, to form Trump campaign adviser who now works in the energy sector.

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Mr Giuliani denied the pitch was linked to Ukraine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

“I have not pursued a deal in the Ukraine. I do not know about a deal in the Ukraine. I would not have to deal in Ukraine now, obviously, “he said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

“There is absolutely no proof that I did it, because I did not do it.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

The lawyer refused to discuss the details of his business dealings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Ms Baumgardner has denied business in Ukraine

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

She also refused to replace the ambassador was discussed at the pitch meeting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Eventually the group’s plans were derailed after Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s president, lost his re-election bid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Rick Perry, the US Energy Secretary, traveled to Kyiv in May, for Volodymyr Zelensky’s inauguration.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Naftogaz’s advisory board

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

At one meeting, he made clear that the White House wanted the entire supervisory board

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

The board is presided over by the Ukrainian president’s cabinet, in consultation with organizations including the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Some officials thought Mr Perry’s request was undermining the official process.

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“What [Mr Perry] did not do is advocate for the business interests of any individual company,” spokesperson spokesperson said on Saturday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

“That is fiction being pushed by those who are disingenuously seeking to advance a nefarious narrative that does not exist.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Mr Favroov declined to comment on the story. Harry Sargeant III did not respond to requests for comment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

A lawyer for Mr Parnas and Mr Fruman said Naftogaz executives had approached his clients about a deal, instead of the other way around.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

“The people from the company solicited my clients because Igor is in the gas business, and they asked them, and they flew to Washington and they solicited,” said John Dowd.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

        

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“They sat down and talk about it. And then it was presented to Secretary Perry to see if they could get it together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

“It was not a shakedown; it was an attempt to do business that did not work out. “

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

It is unclear if Mr Perry’s efforts to replace Naftogaz’s board were linked to the businessmen’s efforts in a pushing for a change in CEO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

There are no allegations of criminal activity and it is unclear what role Mr Giuliani                                                                                                                                                                                                      ******************************************************************************************************************************************************) frontrunner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

The latest allegations will increase the Trump administration’s behavior regarding the country.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

On Thursday the Wall Street Journal reported that the president ordered the removal of Ms Yovanovitch from her post following complaints from Rudy Giuliani and allies outside the Trump administration.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Ms Yovanovitch was accused by the president’s lawyer, with no evidence, of trying to block efforts to persuade Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.

                                                                                                                     

The ambassador will testify before congress on 11 October.

                                                                                                                     

Additional reporting by agencies

                                                                                                                                                    

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