CREW is suing the State Department for communications pertaining to Rudy Giuliani’s associates in Ukraine, where they allegedly attempted to remove and replace the head of Ukrainian state gas company Naftogaz in an effort to bolster their own business plans, as well as planned to oust US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. It is in the public’s best interest to know how the State Department handled the attempt to shake up Naftogaz management and replace  Ambassador Yovanovitch with someone “more open to aiding their business interests.”

In March 2019, Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman, and Harry Sargeant III, associates of President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, met with Andrew Favorov, a senior executive at Ukrainian state gas company Naftogaz, proposing that they push out Naftogaz’s current CEO Andriy Kobolev and replace him with Favorov, in an effort to partner with Favorov in a new gas-sales plan. This conversation also apparently discussed attempts to oust the then-US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Favorov, concerned about what he had just heard, told Dale W. Perry, an American managing partner at Energy Resources of Ukraine. Perry proceeded to tell State Department official Suriya Jatanti about the interaction, and she separately gave a detailed memo to another official at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv. The question remains as to what State did with these documents after Perry’s report to Jatanti, especially given Yovanovitch’s later firing.

The State Department failed to turn over records when CREW requested copies of communications from the State Department related to Parnas, Fruman, Sargaent, Naftogaz, and the removal of Yovanovitch from her position as well as copies of Perry’s communications with Jayanti and the memo he provided to the State Department. These records would shed light on Giuliani’s associates’ communications with Naftogaz, as well as their role in attempting to shake up Naftogaz management to benefit their own business interests. Furthermore, any communications pertaining to Yovanovitch would provide more insight into her firing, which the public has a right to know about. It is important we understand the full scope of what happened in Ukraine and how the State Department responded, given the concerning pattern of Trump and his associates using their positions for personal gain.

Header photo by Gage Skidmore, available under a Creative Commons license.

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