Rudy Giuliani is under federal investigation for whether he might have profited from a Ukrainian natural-gas pipeline project pitched by two associates who also are tied to his efforts to have Kyiv probe former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, according to news reports Friday.
The associates, Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, pitched their plan for a Poland-to-Ukraine pipeline carrying U.S. natural gas to Kyiv officials and energy executives earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The Journal cites "people briefed on the meetings" in its report.
Fruman and Parnas, who have pleaded not guilty to federal campaign-finance charges, said the project was backed by the Trump administration, adding that Giuliani was a partner or prospective investor in the pipeline.
In addition, the associates lobbied for assistance in probes of Biden and his son, Hunter, and alleged Ukrainian intervention in the 2016 presidential election.
However, Giuliani vehemently denied any role in the associates' energy company, Global Energy Producers, or the pipeline project.
"I have no personal interest in any business in Ukraine, including that business," he told the Journal.
He added that he did not know that federal prosecutors were investigating the project.
"If they really want to know if I'm a partner, why don't they ask me?” Giuliani said.
The former New York City mayor's Ukrainian dealings are already under federal scrutiny. He is President Donald Trump's personal attorney — and he has said that he was involved in the country on behalf of the president. He has denied wrongdoing.
Giuliani has said that he provided Fruman and Parnas "civil advice on business."
According to the Journal, prosecutors are now investigating whether Giuliani violated lobbying laws in connection with his Ukraine work, "people familiar with the investigation" said. The issue of whether criminal charges might be involved could not be determined.
"I don't know what they said to other people about me," Giuliani told the newspaper Friday, referring to Parnas and Fruman.
"I do know the following: I am not a part of the ownership, or any other involvement with GEP," he continued. "I never agreed to be part of it. I'm not even sure I was ever asked to be part of it."
He told the Journal that if Fruman and Parnas had sought his legal opinion, he would have advised them against any "ownership situation" in Ukraine while he was working there, because it would look "stupid."
He also told the Journal that he had referred Global Energy Producers to another lawyer regarding any campaign-finance issues.
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