(JTA) — Two Ukrainian-American Jewish businessmen who were honored earlier this year by a prominent synagogue organization have pleaded not guilty to charges of campaign finance violations related to the Trump-Ukraine scandal.
Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas allegedly conspired to use foreign money to buy political influence. They are accused of helping Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and current lawyer for Trump, coax Ukrainian officials to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
The two men appeared in federal court in New York on Wednesday, The Washington Post reported. They were arrested earlier this month at Dulles International Airport in the Washington area.
The indictment, the first criminal charges in the Trump administration’s Ukraine scandal, does not allege wrongdoing by the president, Giuliani or the Trump campaign.
The two men were honored in April at the gala dinner of the National Council of Young Israel, an Orthodox association. The man who invited them, Joseph Frager, had met Fruman and Parnas at a fundraiser for Trump in June 2018 and told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency he had no idea that they were allegedly breaking campaign law.