WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Federal prosecutors are investigating whether current and former Ukrainian officials unlawfully interfered in the U.S. presidential election, the New York Times reported on Thursday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
The criminal investigation includes examining whether the Ukrainian officials used Rudolph Giuliani, then personal lawyer to former President Donald Trump, to spread misleading claims about current President Joe Biden, the New York Times reported.
The inquiry, which began during the final months of the Trump administration, is being handled by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, the newspaper reported, and is separate from an ongoing criminal investigation into Giuliani's dealings in Ukraine.
Prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York are probing whether the Ukrainian officials tried to influence the Nov. 3 election by spreading claims of corruption about Biden through a number of channels, including Giuliani, the newspaper reported. Biden has denied any wrongdoing.
One of the officials being investigated is a Ukrainian member of parliament named Andriy Derkach, the newspaper reported.
The U.S. Treasury Department previously sanctioned Derkach, identifying him as an “active Russian agent for over a decade."
Giuliani, who the New York Times said has not been accused of wrongdoing in this investigation, has previously denied representing any Ukrainians.
The U.S. Attorney's Office and Arthur Aidala, a lawyer for Giuliani, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Giuliani's business dealings with Ukrainian oligarchs while he was working as Trump's lawyer are the subject of a probe by federal prosecutors in Manhattan. Federal agents searched his home and office in April, seizing phones and computers.
Giuliani has denied allegations in that probe and his lawyers have suggested the investigation is politically motivated.
(Reporting by Jan WolfeEditing by Chris Reese and Lincoln Feast.)