Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Photographers spot Giuliani associate Lev Parnas at election-night party for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

Posted By on Tue, Oct 15, 2019 at 9:04 PM

Reuters photographer and longtime Orlando Weekly contributor Joey Roulette posted a video to his Twitter account Monday night, identifying a familiar face at the 2018 election-night victory party for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Roulette noted DeSantis' guest was none other than Ukrainian businessman Lev Parnas, "one of two Giuliani associates arrested last week and charged for scheming to funnel foreign money into various U.S. elections." He can be seen in frame, to the left of Florida first lady Casey DeSantis.

You may remember Parnas, along with Igor Fruman, from his 2018 video with President Donald Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.
The Tampa Bay Times' Chris Urso snapped a photo from that same night, which political editor Steve Contorno posted, noting DeSantis could be seen "face to face with Giuliani associate/Ukrainian businessman Lev Parnas." Fruman appears to be in the background.
DeSantis spokesperson Helen Aguirre Ferré told the Times the election night event was "open to the public," and that DeSantis' contact with Parnas was limited to political events, adding, "Governor DeSantis has not met one-on-one with Parnas and has not seen or spoken to him since taking office."

As noted in Talking Points Memo, following a Miami Herald report that Parnas co-hosted two fundraisers for DeSantis, DeSantis’ office said he would return $50,000 donated by a dummy company Parnas and Fruman created to mask the true source of the funds, Global Energy Producers.

One of the two events included fewer than 30 people, and was co-hosted by Parnas and GOP donor Harry Sargeant. The Associated Press reported that Parnas, Fruman and Sargeant had earlier met with an executive from the Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz about a plan to make him CEO and score a deal exporting natural gas from the U.S. to Ukraine. The report notes Sargeant denies he “discussed any role or participation in any Ukraine venture.”



The other DeSantis fundraiser with Parnas featured Donald Trump Jr. and Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, with Parnas listed in the "Donald Trump Jr. Executive Steering Committee." The federal indictment against the men lists Rick Scott and Adam Putnam as recipients of their donations, as well.

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