Ukrainian-born businessman wants to help war relief efforts instead of US jail time

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A Ukrainian-born American businessman, convicted last year of campaign finance violations alongside a former associate of Rudy Giuliani, is seeking to help war relief efforts in Ukraine as an alternative to prison, a court filing revealed on Monday.

Prosecutors are asking for a 51-63 month sentence for Andrey Kukushkin, a California businessman convicted of helping funnel money from a Russian billionaire to US political candidates who could help a cannabis startup which he was building with Lev Parnas, the Giuliani associate.

Kukushkin, who was convicted in October of two counts of campaign finance violations, is expected to be sentenced in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday.

In a Monday letter, Kukushkin’s attorney, Gerald Lefcourt, asked U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken to consider a “community service and counseling program” as an alternative to jail for Kukushkin. Lefcourt said the plan was developed by the Aleph Institute, a Jewish nonprofit organization working with Kukushkin.

“The proposal includes work to assist local and global humanitarian relief efforts in the wake of the war in Ukraine and individual advice regarding business/legal ethics,” Lefcourt wrote, saying the proposal would allow Kukushkin to help his community “in this time of intense crisis.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment.

Parnas was found guilty of the six counts of campaign finance violations he faced in the October trial and is awaiting sentencing. He is known for helping Giuliani, former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, investigate Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

Giuliani, also a former mayor of New York, has not been charged with any crime and denies any wrongdoing.

(Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Tim Ahmann)

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