A business associate of Donald Trump, Ukraine-born businessman Semyon Kislin, who is due to give evidence at the US president’s impeachment inquiry on October 14, tried to obtain millions of dollars that Ukrainian prosecutors deemed stolen, Al Jazeera reports.
Kislin is a long-time friend of Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who is said to donate money to Giuliani’s political campaigns in the 1990s. As reported, in January last year, Kislin lobbied the former US Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, to help him unlock millions of dollars that had in fact been seized in a major criminal inquiry.
This comes as the New York Times reported that federal investigators are examining Giuliani’s efforts to undermine Yovanovitch as part of a broader campaign to pressure Ukraine into helping Trump’s political prospects.
Kislin, 83, purchased a Cypriot shell company holding part of a $1.5bn hoard of cash and bonds that the Ukrainian courts identified in 2015 as having been stolen by the disgraced former president, Viktor Yanukovych, before he fled Ukraine in 2014.