Nevada Marijuana Licenses Make Appearance In Russian Campaign Violation Arrest

The two Russian nationals that were arrested on Thursday for campaign finance violations also tried to apply for marijuana licenses in Nevada according to the arrest allegations. The document said that  Lev Parnas, Igor Furman, David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin “planned to use Foreign National-1 as a source of funding for donations and contributions to State and federal candidates and politicians in Nevada, New York and other states to facilitate acquisitions of retail marijuana licenses.”

The group is alleged to have a multi-state license strategy in or about September to October 2018. The group contemplated to use between $1 and $2 million in political contributions. The funding scheduled two $500,000 transfers. “Foreign National-1 then arranged for two $500,000 wires on or about September 18, 2018 and October 16, 2018 to be sent from overseas accounts to U.S. corporate bank account controlled by Frumanand another individual.”

The problem is that the group applied two months too late for a Nevada recreational license even though they attempted to contribute to state politicians. Kukushkin told the group they were “two months too late to the game unless we change the rules.” Then the group discussed needing a particular Nevada state official to push through their application. They gave candidate-1 $10.000, but then it seems the group washed their hands of the license application process.

The document alleges “that they needed a particular Nevada State official, the position for which Candidate-1 was running, to green light to implement this.” As noted above, FRUMAN made a $10,000 donation, funded by
Foreign National-1, to Candidate-1 on or about November 1, 2018. On or about November 4, 20l8, PARNAS asked KUKUSHKIN to arrange for additional funding from Foreign National-l to make an additional donation to Candidate-1, to which KUKUSHKIN responded that the $1 million Foreign National-1 had already provided to GEE was in order to cover all the donations whatsoever.”

Money transferred by [Foreign Nationalel] was to support the very specific people states (per table) in order to obtain green light for licensing. I haven’t changed any rules of our engagement and was present at all the scheduled meetings with officials in Nevada. Although PARNAS, FRUMAN, CORREIA, and Foreign National-l continued to meet into the spring of 2019, the Business Venture did not come to fruition.

Debra Borchardt

Debra Borchardt is the Co-Founder, and Executive Editor of GMR. She has covered the cannabis industry for several years at Forbes, Seeking Alpha and TheStreet. Prior to becoming a financial journalist, Debra was a Vice President at Bear Stearns where she held a Series 7 and Registered Investment Advisor license. Debra has a Master's degree in Business Journalism from New York University.

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