Prosecutor: Brother of Giuliani associate eyed in probe

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NEW YORK (AP) — The brother of an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani is also under scrutiny in an ongoing campaign finance probe, a prosecutor said Friday.

During a bail hearing for Igor Fruman in federal court in Manhattan, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roos told a judge that Fruman's brother Steven had initially failed to disclose his interest in a holding company linked to the scheme when he was screened to be a backer of a $1 million bail bond.

Roos said of Steven Fruman: "It appears he could be involved in some of the conduct in the indictment."

Igor Fruman's defense attorney, Todd Blanche, responded by calling prosecutors' interest in the brother's finances a "fishing expedition."

The exchange followed reports last month that prosecutors had subpoenaed Steven Fruman shortly after his brother and another Giuliani associate, Lev Parnas, were arrested. At the time, prosecutors weren't commenting on the brother's possible involvement.

Both Igor Fruman and Parnas have pleaded not guilty to charges they used foreign money to make illicit donations to further their business interests and as part of a campaign to get the U.S. to remove its ambassador to Ukraine. Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, has denied knowledge of any illegal donations.

U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken denied a defense request on Friday to lift bail conditions confining Fruman to his Miami home and keeping him under electronic monitoring.

Fruman's attorney had argued his Belarus-born client, who was not at the hearing, had no incentive to flee since he's raising three children while going through a divorce. Fruman, who became a U.S. citizen 15 years ago, "needs to take care of his kids," the lawyer said.

Roos countered by recounting how Fruman was arrested while trying to use a one-way ticket to board a flight to Vienna last month after refusing to comply with Congress-issued subpoena in the ongoing impeachment inquiry. He also said the defendant has multiple business and political connections in Ukraine and elsewhere that would make it easy "to live a very nice life" overseas.

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