Former Ukrainian politician Andrii Artemenko received a secret payment in 2019 from a television station owned by Putin's closest ally in Ukraine. The FBI is now investigating the Giuliani ally.April 30, 2021 1:18 pm
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) probe of Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph Giuliani has expanded to include Russia’s spy activities in the 2020 U.S. election, multiple sources tell Forensic News.
The criminal investigation, which led to a dramatic raid of Giuliani’s home and office this week, has for months included the activities of those who worked for or with Russian intelligence agent Andriy Derkach.
Derkach is a Ukrainian Member of Parliament who has been an “active Russian agent for over a decade,” according to the U.S. government.
Kenneth McCallion, an attorney who has represented multiple Ukrainian clients, said that prosecutors have been looking into the actions of Derkach in the 2020 election cycle as part of the Giuliani probe.
“I have been briefed that prosecutors are scrutinizing Derkach as part of the Giuliani probe,” McCallion told Forensic News. The inclusion of Derkach in the FBI’s probe suggests that the potential charges facing Giuliani might extend beyond just Foreign Agent Registration Act violations.
Giuliani met with Derkach on multiple occasions in 2019 and 2020 in pursuit of his far-ranging conspiracy theory that Joe and Hunter Biden engaged in criminal corruption in Ukraine and that the Democratic National Committee colluded with Ukrainian officials in 2016. Giuliani attended these meetings after the FBI became aware that he was the target of a Russian influence operation, according to the Washington Post.
Giuliani posted a podcast with Derkach filmed in February 2020. In it, the two rambled frequently and spread blatant disinformation about the Bidens, the Obama administration, and George Soros.
“For the American people, I thank you,” Giuliani says. “Thank you for assistance [sic],” Derkach replies, “and for good job [sic] for the people of Ukraine.”
A recent report from the Office of Director of National Intelligence (O.D.N.I.) on foreign interference in the 2020 U.S. election revealed that Derkach and another Russian intelligence asset, Konstantin Kilimnik “helped produce” a documentary created by Giuliani’s ally Michael Caputo. The report also stated that “Putin had purview over the activities of Andriy Derkach,” a stark assertion about Derkach’s importance to Russia’s intelligence services.
The expanding Giuliani probe has also roped in another one of his Ukrainian associates, Andrii Artemenko, who quietly became a person of interest to the FBI in the fall of 2020, according to sources.
As recently as the winter of 2020, FBI agents in Washington DC conducted multiple interviews with a business associate of Artemenko, who also goes by the name of Andy Kuchma, according to the business associate who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the topic.
The new scrutiny on Artemenko comes as Forensic News has learned exclusive details about his business and political activities in 2019 and 2020, some of which appear to flout U.S. law.
The recent O.D.NI. report on foreign interference in the U.S. election noted that Russian proxies “hired a U.S. firm to petition U.S. officials.” The report appears to be referring to Artemenko’s lobbying company Global Management Association, which did business with individuals who have close ties to the Russian government, Forensic News can reveal.
Since its incorporation in December 2018, Global Management Association has registered two foreign clients, according to FARA records.
One of those clients was a Czech shell company ostensibly in the oil business called Oilprom. Global Management Association resold exit polling data from the 2019 Ukraine presidential election to Oilprom for $74,450 after having purchased it from a company in Ukraine called New Image Marketing Group for $24,000, according to FARA records. The transaction, in essence, put a $50,000 profit into Artemenko’s pockets.
However, Forensic News has learned that Oilprom’s involvement in the transaction was a sham. According to sources on-and-off-the-record, Oilprom was actually a cover for the pro-Russian television channel 112 Ukraine. 112 is affiliated with Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk, who is arguably Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest ally in Ukraine. Medvedchuk was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2014 after Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky recently banned 112 from broadcasting in Ukraine in what Zelensky called a “fight against the danger of Russian aggression in the information space.“
A representative from 112 approached Oleg Sinayuk, the director of the New Image Marketing Group, in early April 2019 about doing an exit poll for the second round of the Ukraine presidential election, Sinayuk exclusively told Forensic News.
According to Sinayuk, 112 said that their client for the poll was the UK newspaper The Independent. However, he was told to coordinate the cost and terms of the poll with Artemenko’s Global Management Association. A representative from the Independent said that the company has no knowledge of the poll in question.
“The Independent has no knowledge of any polls commissioned in Ukraine,” a spokesperson for the newspaper told Forensic News.
When asked about this specific poll, Artem Marchevsky, the general producer of 112, said he “did not want to discuss this topic.”
After purchasing the polling data from the Ukrainian company, Artemenko was then reimbursed at a $50,000 profit through Oilprom, which allowed 112 and Medvedchuk’s names to be hidden.
Artemenko had previously appeared multiple times on 112, though there was never any indication that the two had a business relationship. Artemenko did not respond to requests for comment from Forensic News.
Forensic News spoke with multiple Ukrainian anti-corruption activists who said that $25,000 was far too little to conduct a large-scale exit poll.
“This is money laundering,” Tetiana Shevchuk, legal counsel at the Anti-Corruption Action Centre, said. Shevchuk also expressed the opinion that there was no reason to conduct an exit poll because a national one was already being done and that such a poll would cost nearly $400,000.
Shevchuk’s assertion of illegality is bolstered by action taken by Oilprom’s bankers in Eastern Europe. The company’s bank account with UniCredit Bank in Bratislava, Slovakia was closed down in 2020 due to money laundering concerns, according to an employee at UniCredit who is directly familiar with the account.
Artemenko, Derkach, and Giuliani
According to Giuliani’s former right-hand man Lev Parnas, Andrii Artemenko’s involvement with Giuliani goes beyond what has been previously reported.
Artemenko first attempted to meet with Giuliani in mid-2019, according to Parnas. In June 2019, Artemenko met with Parnas and his close associate Igor Fruman at the Trump Hotel in Washington D.C. where Artemenko told the men that he wanted to reach Giuliani with information on the Bidens.
After Parnas was arrested in October 2019 on charges of campaign finance violations involving foreign funding into multiple politicians, Giuliani worked with Artemenko and appeared with him on a panel which included Andrii Telizhenko, who was sanctioned by the Trump administration for working in suspected Russian spy Andriy Derkach’s “inner circle.” Artemenko was featured prominently in a documentary aired by OANN in December 2019 into alleged Biden and DNC corruption in Ukraine.
Not only did Artemenko attempt to secure a meeting with Giuliani earlier than previously known, but he also acted as an intermediary between the Giuliani camp and Derkach.
On a separate occasion in mid-2019, according to Parnas, Artemenko relayed a message from Derkach who also wanted to sit down with the former New York Mayor.
If Artemenko was indeed acting on behalf of Derkach in 2019, this far precedes his registration as a foreign agent for Derkach in April of 2020.
These circumstances appear to be part of a previously unreported FBI investigation into Artemenko. According to a person directly involved, the FBI has been investigating Artemenko since at least September 2020, when they began a series of interviews with one of Artemenko’s business associates.
According to the person, the first interview took place in September 2020, and at least two subsequent interviews took place in the following months, where FBI agents grilled the person about his/her knowledge of Artemenko’s foreign contacts and business activities.
A recent Politico report indicated that Artemenko is cooperating with authorities in the Giuliani probe, though the outlet did not mention the FBI’s interest in Artemenko himself or his direct involvement in trying to disseminate disinformation on the Bidens from Derkach to Giuliani.
A lawyer for Giuliani did not respond to multiple requests for comment.