President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani lobbied the Department of Justice on behalf of a Venezuelan oil executive who is accused of money laundering after he hosted Giuliani in Madrid, where Giuliani met with Ukrainian official Andriy Yermak, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
Giuliani met with Yermak in pursuit of information on former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. During his trip, Giuliani met with Alejandro Betancourt Lopez, a previously unidentified client.
Betancourt is an executive with the Venezuelan state-owned oil company, which is the subject of a DOJ investigation into $1.2 billion in alleged money laundering and is referred to as an uncharged co-conspirator, according to the Post.
Giuliani first told the Post of the Madrid visit in September, saying he told Yermak, “I was already going to be in Madrid for something else the first weekend in August, so why don’t we just meet there?”
A month after the meeting, Giuliani and several other attorneys for Betancourt met with Brian Benczowski, head of the DOJ’s criminal division, according to the Post, citing people familiar with the meeting.
At the same time, federal prosecutors in Manhattan were investigating two of Giuliani’s associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, and would later indict them on campaign finance charges.
“When Mr. Benczkowski and fraud section lawyers met with Mr. Giuliani, they were not aware of any investigation of Mr. Giuliani’s associates in the Southern District of New York and would not have met with him had they known,” department spokesperson Peter Carr said at the time.
While Giuliani’s representation of Betancourt was not previously disclosed, a former National Security Council official told the House in a closed-door deposition that she had been told Parnas and Fruman had ties to lobbying in Venezuela.
“I was told that by the directors working on the Western Hemisphere. I didn’t have a chance to look into this in any way,”she said, according to a transcript. “I was told that the same individuals who had been indicted had been interested at different points in energy investments in Venezuela and that this was quite well-known.”
The former New York Mayor has claimed there is no conflict between his work for foreign clients and his representation of the president because he represents Trump pro bono.
Giuliani texted the Post: “This is attorney client privilege so I will withstand whatever malicious lies or spin you put on it.”
Giuliani did not return a request for comment.