Energy executive questions veracity of AP story, says story’s single named source cannot have first-hand knowledge of Houston CERA Week dinner that ties executive to Ukraine “case” related to impeachment efforts — executive also questions motives of that source
October 8, 2019
Reports from an Associated Press (AP) news story linking Florida energy company CEO Harry Sargeant III to former Texas Governor Rick Perry, President Trump‘s attorney Rudolph Giuliani and several Ukranian businessmen “unfairly and inaccurately” portray Mr. Sargeant, according to his attorney.
In a statement, lawyer Christopher Kise says International Oil Trading Co. CEO Sargeant’s connection to the so-called Ukraine scandal consists in his having dinner during the March 2019 CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference in Houston with Andrew Favorov, Igor Fruman, and Lev Parnas, at which he offered only “broad industry guidance and his expert view on the challenges presented by operating in foreign markets.”
Kise stated that “Mr. Sargeant conducts no business of any kind in the Ukraine and has not visited Ukraine, even as a tourist, in well over a decade.
“Attending a single, informal dinner in Houston does not place Mr. Sargeant at the center of any Naftogaz or Ukrainian business plan.”
See the Associated Press story here. Several news articles since its publication have sprung from or have referred back to both attributed and unsourced statements in the AP report.
Attorney Kise questions the propriety of AP’s “alleged” use of Dale Perry (no relation to Rick Perry) as a named source in its news story, claiming Dale Perry “may well be generating stories to discredit his competitors and advance his own interests in the Ukraine.”
Dale Perry, listed as AP’s only named source in its initial story, is a former business partner of Andrew Favorov, a senior executive at the Ukrainian oil company Naftogaz — and related information about the CERA Week dinner among Sargeant, Favorov, Fruman and Parnas, though Kise says that Perry was not at that dinner and “Mr. Sargeant has never even met with or spoken to Mr. Perry.”
Lev Parnas, an associate of Giuliani, pitched a liquefied natural gas deal to the chief executive of Naftogaz last spring along with his partner Igor Fruman.
Parnas and Fruman — recent political donors of up to $325,000 to a Trump-allied PAC — maintain residences in Florida and were referred to by AP as Giuliani’s “Florida fixers.”
The AP story said, “Sargeant told Favorov that he regularly meets with Trump at Mar-a-Lago,” however Sargeant’s attorney said on Monday that “Mr. Sargeant is not a member of Mar-a-Lago and has never met there with Donald Trump since Mr. Trump has been President.”
Sargeant has not denied AP’s assertion that he, his wife and corporate entities have donated $1 million to the Republican Party over a 20-year-period, which averages to about $50,000 per year.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry was part of an American delegation at the May 2019 inauguration of the new president of Ukraine and reportedly suggested Americans whom the new Ukrainian government might want to tap for that nation’s state-owned gas company.
The New York Times says because of his association with Giulani, Favorov and others, Rick Perry as “entangled” in the Ukraine case, stopping short of calling it a “scandal” — indeed, there have been no charges of wrongdoing in Perry’s promotion of US companies overseas, which is his essential tie to news stories about Ukraine over the past two weeks.
President Trump said last week he made a controversial phone call to the Ukraine president on July 25th at the behest of Energy Secretary Perry — at issue both in the controversy and in US House impeachment inquiries, is whether Mr. Trump established an advantage with the Ukrainian leader in asking for an investigation into actions by Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden in exchange for US government money.
Perry has said he asked the president to make the call as part of his promotion of US companies in other nations, including Ukraine; Perry has said he never mentioned Mr. Biden to officials.
Biden announced his latest run for president on April 25th.