Federal prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York are seeking to interview people who have knowledge of Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani’s dealings with Naftogaz, which is Ukraine’s state-run oil-and-gas company.
CNN reports that prosecutors have reached out to multiple people with knowledge of Naftogaz in recent weeks, which the network says suggests “investigators have opened a line of inquiry into whether Giuliani and his associates sought to secure energy deals by asserting influence on the company.”
According to CNN’s sources, Giuliani’s indicted henchmen, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, tried earlier this year to replace the CEO of Naftogaz with “someone who would be more beneficial to their own business interests.”
The two men run a company called Global Energy Producers that would presumably stand to benefit from a change in leadership at Naftogaz, and they were running this operation at the same time they were trying to push the Ukrainian government to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.
Dale Perry, an American energy consultant who works in Ukraine, tells CNN that Parnas and Fruman explicitly asked senior Naftogaz executive Andrew Favorov if he’d take over as CEO to help with their business dealings.
“They basically just flat out said to him, hey, to do the deals we want to do, we were not able to get through to your CEO, and we think that the business needs a new CEO,” Perry explains.