Federal investigators in Manhattan executed a search warrant today on former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's Upper East Side apartment, according to the New York Times, whose three anonymous sources say is an escalation of a "criminal investigation into Mr. Giuliani's dealings in Ukraine."
According to the report, "Executing a search warrant is an extraordinary move for prosecutors to take against a lawyer, let alone a lawyer for a former president, and it marks a major turning point in the long-running investigation into Mr. Giuliani."
Among other things, Giuliani's electronic devices were reportedly seized as part of the search, according to one of the sources.
The feds are looking into whether Giuliani illegally lobbied the Trump administration in 2019 on behalf of prominent Ukrainians, who were simultaneously helping Giuliani uncover allegedly shady dealings by the Biden family while then Vice President Joe Biden was in charge of Ukraine policy for the Obama administration.
For months, the US Attorney's office in Manhattan and the FBI had sought a search warrant for Giuliani's phones - which senior political appointees in the Trump DOJ allegedly sought to block, according to the Times. Under new Attorney General Merrick Garland, the DOJ lifted its objection to the search.
While investigating Mr. Giuliani, prosecutors have examined, among other things, his potential business dealings in Ukraine and his role in pushing the Trump administration to oust the American ambassador to Ukraine, which was the subject of testimony at Mr. Trump's first impeachment trial.
As he was pressuring Ukrainian officials to investigate the Bidens, Mr. Giuliani became fixated on removing the ambassador, Marie L. Yovanovitch, whom he saw as an obstacle to those efforts. At the urging of Mr. Giuliani and other Republicans, Mr. Trump ultimately removed Ms. Yovanovitch. -NY Times
Federal prosecutors are now looking at whether Giuliani was working for Ukrainian officials at the same time as he was serving as former President Trump's personal attorney - and whether Ukrainian officials or businesses wanted Yovanovitch to be removed for their own reasons, according to the Times anonymous sources.
Another Ukrainian official under the spotlight is Yuriy Lutsenko, one of the officials who assisted Giuliani and his associates in their investigation of the Bidens. Lutsenko allegedly paid Giuliani's firm hundreds of thousands of dollars in unrelated consulting business, which resulted in a draft retainer agreement which was never executed.
Giuliani has repeatedly said he turned down the deal, which would have involved his efforts to recover money that the Ukrainian government believes was stolen and stashed offshore.
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For more on Giuliani's interview with Lutsenko and Shokin - we published the following in Nov. 2019 - which has been fully memory holed if one goes to search for it on Google.
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A liberal watchdog group's attempt to nail Rudy Giuliani has backfired in spectacular fashion after their FOIA request resulted in the US State Department releasing detailed accusations of corruption against the Bidens - based on interviews with former Ukrainian officials who were in charge of the investigations.
Responding to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit from the group American Oversight, the State Department on Friday night released almost 100 pages of records detailing efforts by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani to investigate corruption.
While American Oversight's 'gotcha' is that Giuliani had "multiple contacts" with Mike Pompeo and others while investigating Ukraine corruption, they completely ignore interview notes containing detailed allegations by former Ukraine Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin- who Joe Biden had fired, as well as his successor, prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko - who "believes Mr. Viktor Shokin the former Prosecutor General is honest."
On a January 23, 2019 phone call between Shokin and Giuliani, Igor Fruman, Lev Parnas and George Boyle, Shokin said:
"He was appointed to the position of General Prosecutor of Ukraine from 2015 until April of 2016, when he was removed at the request of Mr. Joseph Biden the Vice President of the United States."
"He [Shokin] became involved in a case against Mr. Mykola Zlochevsky the former Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine. The case was opened as a result of Mr. Zlochevsky giving himself/company permits to drill for gas and oil in Ukraine. Mr. Zlochevsky is also the owner of Burisma Holdings."
"Mr. Shokin stated that there are documents that list five (5) criminal cases in which Mr. Zlochevesky is listed, with the main case being for issuing illegal gas exploration permits. The following complaints are in the criminal case.
Mr. Zlochevsky was laundering money
Obtained assets by corrupt acts bribery
Mr. Zlochevsky removed approximately twenty three million US dollars out of Ukraine without permission
While seated as the Minister he approved two addition entities to receive permits for gas exploration
Mr. Zlochevsky was the owner of two secret companies
that were part of Burisma Holdings and gave those companies permits which made it possible for him to profit while he was the sitting Minister.
"Mr Shokin further stated that there were several Burisma board appointments were made in 2014 as follows:
Hunter Biden son of Vice President Joseph Biden
Joseph Blade former CIA employee assigned to Anti-Terrorist Unit
Alesksander Kwasnieski former President of Poland
Devon Archer roomate to the Christopher Heinz the step-son of Mr. John Kerry United States Secretary of State
"Mr. Shokin stated that these appointments were made by Mr. Slochevsky in order to protect himself."
Shokin then details how in July 2015, "US Ambassador Geoffrey R. Pyatt told him that the investigation has to be handled with white gloves, which according to Mr. Shokin, that implied do nothing. On or about September 2015 Mr. Pyatt gave a speech in Odessa where he stated that the cases were not investigated correctly and that Mr. Shokin may be corrupt."
"Mr. Shokin further stated that on February of 2016 warrants were placed on the accounts of multiple people in Ukraine. There were requests for information on Hunter Biden to which nothing was received."
"It is believed that Hunter Biden receives a salary, commission plus one million dollars."
"President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko [who Joe Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in US loan guarantees] told Mr. Shokin not to investigate Burisma as it was not in the interest of Joe and/or Hunter Biden. Mr. Shokin was called into Mr. Poroshenko's office and told that the investigation into Burisma and the Managing Director where Hunter Biden is on the board, has caused Joe Biden to hold up one billion dollars in US aid to Ukraine.
"Mr. Shokin stated that on or around April of 2016 Mr. Petro Poroshenko called him and told him he had to be fired as the aid to the Ukraine was being withheld by Joe Biden. Mr. Biden told Mr. Poroshenko that he had evidence that Mr. Shokin was corrupt and needed to be fired. Mr. Shokin was dismissed in April of 2016 and the US aid was delivered within one and one half months."
"On a different point Mr. Shokin believes the current Ambassador Marie L. Yovanovitch denied his visa to travel to the US. Mr. Shokin stated that she is close to Mr. Biden. Mr. Shokin also stated that there were leaks by a person named Reshenko of the Ukrainian State Secret Service about the Manafort Black Book. Mr. Shokin stated that there is possible deceit in the Manafort Black Book."
Lutsenko takes Shokin's interview one step further in a January 25 phone interview with Giuliani and associates - describing how Ukraine has two secretive units which are protected by a US Ambassador.
"Mr. Lutsenko went on to explain that there is a unit called Specialized Anticorruption Prosecutor's Office (SAP) which has under its purview National Anticorruption Bureau Ukraine (NABU) which investigates corruption cases that involved public figures from Mayors upward. He stated that the current US Ambassador protects SAP and NABU," adding "His office has absolutely no control over SAP or NABU and can't even ask what they are working on however they fall under his "control."
Of note, NABU was established in October 2014 "by Mr. George Kent who was the Deputy Chief to the Mission in Ukraine."
Bidens and Burisma
Lutsenko "went on to say that he began looking at the same case Mr. Shokin was looking at (mentioned above) and he believes Hunter Biden receives millions of dollars in compensation from Burisma. He produced a document from Latvia that showed several million dollars that were distributed out of Burisma's account. The record showed two (2) companies and four (4) individuals receiving approximately sixteen million dollars in disbursements as follows:
Wirelogic Technology $14,665,982
Alexsander Kwasnewski $1,150,000
Alan Apter $302,887
Devon Archer Amount not revealed by Latvia
Hunter Biden Amount not revealed by Latvia
"Mr Lutsenko stated that there was also a payment of $900,000 to Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC for consulting fees. Hunter Biden is a partner in Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC along with Devon Archer and the dates of this transaction are approximately anywhere from January to December 2015. According to Mr. Lutsenko the $900,000 invoice was for services rendered for lobbying by Joe Biden."
Read the interviews below (and see the full release here):