Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council announced sanctions against Dmytro Firtash and Pavel Fuks, though it added that the exact details of the penalties would be detailed in a separate decree from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, according to Reuters.
Security council secretary Oleksiy Danilov said that Firtash, who also has legal problems in the U.S. involving bribery and racketeering charges, was sanctioned for “his involvement in the titanium business.”
Firtash claims that he was directed by Giuliani associate Lev Parnas to hire two Trump attorneys, Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova to deal with his legal problems. According to The New York Times Firtash said that Toensing and DiGenova were close to former Attorney General Bill Barr and the duo promised they would use their influence to get the DoJ to withdraw evidence used against him. “Per Giuliani’s instructions,” Parnas’ lawyer, Joseph Bondy told the Times, Parnas “informed Mr. Firtash that Toensing and diGenova were interested in collecting information on the Bidens.” Mother Jones claims that this is where Giuliani got his “unfounded claims” about the Biden Family and Burisma. Both Giuliani and Firtash deny a relationship.
Firtash lawyers Lanny Davis and Dan Webb released a statement saying, “Despite multiple misreporting through the media and on the Internet, it is fact that Dmytro Firtash never talked to or met with Giuliani and had nothing to do with Giuliani’s or anyone’s effort to dig up dirt on Mr. Biden or his son. It is a flat out lie if anyone states otherwise.” Likewise, Giuliani claimed he had “nothing to do with Firtash.”
The other oligarch sanctioned by the Ukrainian government is Pavel Fuks. Radio Free Europe reports that Fuks was sanctioned “over his acquisition of more than a dozen natural-gas fields from a former official tied to the government of former President Viktor Yanukovych.” Fuks was born in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv but appears to hold influence in Russia. Bloomberg describes that Fuks “built up a Moscow real-estate empire under Moscow’s powerful post-Soviet mayor” and tried to negotiate with Trump to license a Trump Tower in Moscow.
In an interview with Bloomberg News in Kiev, Fuks said he hosted Trump children, Donald and Ivanka, in 2006 after having several prior meetings with Trump about building the Tower. The deal did not work out. Fuks left Moscow for the Ukraine in 2015 and either renounced his citizenship or lost his citizenship after he was charged with fraud by Russia. In addition to the sanctions by Ukraine, Fuks has been banned from traveling to the United States, although the exact reason is unclear.
Fuks attempted renew his relationship with Trump by attending the Trump inauguration. He sued Republican fundraiser and lobbyist, Yuri Vanetik, claiming Vanetik defrauded him of $200,000 for tickets to the Trump inauguration. However foreign nationals are banned from buying tickets from presidential inauguration committees and Fuks did not end up attending the inauguration. Vanetik, a Ukrainian-born U.S. citizen, denies “promising Fuks inaugural tickets or influencing Fuks’ visa restriction. He has said the money Fuks paid him related to work he, like Giuliani, did for Kharkiv at Fuks’ behest, and that he had offered to help Fuks attend an inaugural ball, not the inauguration itself.” Vanetik has responded to Fuks by suing him under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO act) in a California court. Vanetik alleges Fuks is an agent of Russian intelligence. The suit alleged Fuks threatened to kill him and arranged for his murder, that Fuks is “an agent of Russian intelligence.” He also alleges that Fuks does business with people sanctioned in the U.S and European countries such as Oleksandr Onyshchenko, Andrei Telezhenko, Sergei Kurchenko, Viktor Yanukovych, and Oleg Deripaska.
According to Giuliani, Fuks hired Giuliani Security & Safety in 2017 to work with Kharkiv, Ukraine on “security and emergency management.” Fuks claims he hired Giuliani to “create a U.S. office for supporting investment in” Kharkiv. Fuks also claimed Giuliani was a lobbyist, which Giuliani denied.
Giuliani defended himself and his association with the two Ukrainians by asking “Where do you think you get evidence about horrible people?” Giuliani asked in a speech in New York this month. “From other horrible people.”
Mothe Jones has updated their original story on the Ukrainian Oligarchs: *Update: After this story was published, Firtash’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, released a statement asserting that Firtash never sold titanium raw materials to the Russian military. Firtash previously sold such products to a private Russian company that produces titanium, but ceased doing so in 2014, Davis said. He also said that a Ukrainian state-owned mining company currently supplies titanium raw materials to the same Russian titanium producer.