We Can Learn A Lot From That Lev Parnas Photo With Ivana Trump

Jim here.

Yesterday, Shelby Holliday of the Wall Street Journal provided a look at a private Instagram account for Lev Parnas. There is a treasure trove of information in what was revealed there. For this post, I want to concentrate on what appears to be the earliest entry by Parnas, dated April 24, 2015:

There is just so much going on here. As far as I can tell, this is the earliest evidence of Lev Parnas reuniting with any of the Trumps since his time as a teenager working for Kings Road Realty selling co-ops owned by Fred Trump. Recall that evidence is beginning to accumulate that Lev Parnas and David Correia may have been involved in the sale of Trump condos to Russian buyers in South Florida.

But note the date of this encounter: Donald Trump didn’t declare as a presidential candidate until June of 2015, and yet here is Parnas meeting with Ivana in April. As far as I can tell, Parnas began working with the Trumps in 1988. His end date with them is fuzzy, but I’m guessing it went until just before he got his registration as a stockbroker in December of 1993. Donald and Ivana divorced in March of 1992, so there’s a good chance Lev Parnas ran into Ivana while working for them and saw the divorce taking place.

Note that Parnas mentions both the location where they are, Lique, which is a very high end restaurant in the Sunny Isles (yes, that’s where there are a number of Trump high rises) region and Fraud Guarantee. Recall that Fraud Guarantee is the entity that was used to pay Rudy Giuliani at least $500,000 recently. We have to wonder now if those payments started much earlier. Fraud Guarantee was incorporated in October of 2013 in Florida but did not list Parnas or Correia even though they feature as founders on its website. No annual report was filed, so the Florida corporation was dissolved in 2014, before Parnas mentioned it in this post.

Lique is very interesting. From the website, it is clear that it is the background in this photo. The founder, Alex Podolonyy, is Ukranian. In a remarkable parallel to what happened to the Fruad Guarantee website, the bio for Podolonyy is on the Lique site, but the link to it has been removed from the home page.

So, we know that’s Lev Parnas on the left and Ivana Trump next to him. It’s also clear that’s David Correia on the right. One might guess initially that two remaining people are the wives of Parnas and Corriea, but I think that’s only half right. I’m pretty sure that’s Svetlana Parnas next to Correia. It seems that Correia’s wife very likely was indisposed at the time of this photo. She appears to have been sentenced for writing hot checks in October of 2014. There are a couple of lawsuits back and forth between Correia and his then wife, but it looks like after they split she continued her check kiting and even became somewhat notorious.

A hint for the unknown woman between Ivana Trump and Svetlana Parnas in the photo can come to us from the timeline of Parnas and Correia company formation. Just a couple of months prior to this photo, Lev Parnas and David Correia incorporated Mendo Cali, LLC on August 19, 2014. But, as you might recall from my previous post on this issue, there’s a third person involved in this entity: Inna Ponomareva. Subsequent to writing that post, I ran across this remarkable page with a “business card” for Inna Ponomarava as a Vice President of Miama Red Square Realty, the firm most closely associated with the sale of Trump condos to Russians in South Florida. (Hover your cursor over the image to get full color.) Below, I’ve put that image for Ponomareva alongside the unknown person in the photo with Ivana Trump:

Blowing up the Instagram image came at a cost of sharpness, but it sure feels to me that we are seeing Inna Ponomareva alongside Lev Parnas, David Correia and Ivana Trump. And that makes us wonder about just what “#bigbusiness” Parnas was bragging about. I think there’s a good chance it is him getting back to his roots, selling Trump properties.

69 replies
  1. Stephen says:

    Certainly could be the same woman, though at low resolution I can’t be sure it isn’t a chance resemblance. Certainly the woman shown in the business card photo is not the South Florida physics professor, whose facial structure is rather different. So either it’s two women with the same uncommon name in the south of Florida at the same time or a case of “borrowed identity.” Ponomoreva or not, though, the image makes it clear that Parnas and Correia were doing business with the Trumps in 2015. Not damning in and of itself, but making it no longer plausible to deny any association or claim that it’s all down to Giuliani’s recent machinations.

  2. Gnome de Plume says:

    The photo on the left is a professional head shot, but both noses appear the same, even though other features are blurry.

    • Pete T says:

      Yeah – reminds me a bit of those before/after shots for where the after is a professional shot with likely photoshop. And the pic is tagged a Fraud Guarantee pow-wow.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      The noses do not look the same to me. The space between the bottom of the nose and the top of the lip seems greater on the older woman. The younger photo seems to have less space. Sure, there might have been cosmetic surgery. The facial structures are similar. But I’m not convinced they are the same person. The foreheads don’t seem to match, either.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        I’d check with a plastic surgeon; it’s quite possible those are ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos of the same person.

      • P J Evans says:

        They look pretty nearly alike to me, but the one on the right is blurry enough that I can’t say for sure.

      • OldTulsaDude says:

        Apparent cheekbone discrepancy is more likely caused by slightly lower camera angle for the one on the right. Critical things that cannot change match: width between inner eyes and length from nose to eye corner, etc.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Also, the younger photo has a copyright date of 2019. So, if that is a real photo of a real person, she would either have had to age backwards and elongated her nose or used a photo that represented a younger self. Or maybe it’s not the same person.

    • Vicks says:

      Both have high hairlines but the one one the right seems to have a rather pronounced widow’s peak which isn’t visible on the left photo and the woman in PJ’s link clearly doesn’t have one. Quite odd if the first and third people have been identified as the same women.

      • P J Evans says:

        It’s always possible that the woman in the pic I linked is a different one, though I think the real estate agent is the same as in the left photo above..

      • Geoff says:

        Page 12 is a real treat. It’s where Trump tries to claim it’s not a quid pro quo by defining a quid pro quo with a specific example. And one that is basically straight up extortion, none the less. As if using the word “stalemate” is somehow exculpatory. What a moron.

        This is most definitely not to be confused with Magritte’s “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”. Trump is surely to culturally ignorant to even understand the reference.

    • harpie says:

      10:29 AM – 22 Oct 2019

      This is a key element on the Ukrainegate quid pro quo: the missing Taylor-Sondland phone call.

      Links to:
      10:15 AM – 22 Oct 2019

      CNN: In a lengthy and detailed opening statement, Taylor said that he and Sondland spoke by phone about why the aid was frozen, and Sondland cited the need for Ukraine to open an investigation among other reasons.

      Trump not only wanted Z. to open an investigation, he wanted Z. to publicly announce [to CNN] this investigation. There are several references to this in the testimony.

      • OmAli says:

        And phrased it as wanting him “put in a public box.” What a shitty and chilling thing to say.

        He is a sociopath.

  3. Ollie says:

    No I don’t think it’s the same woman. The hair looks to be of different texture. Key points in face seem different to me.

  4. punaise says:

    Iron (Curtain) Flutter-by:

    Inna gotta defeat ya, honey
    Don’t you know that she’s scammin’ you
    Inna gotta defeat ya, baby
    Don’t you know that the notes come due?

    Oh, won’t you come with me
    And take my card
    Oh, won’t you come with me
    And walk the prison yard?

  5. Jim White says:

    Hmm. So many of you don’t think they’re the same person. I still think there’s a chance. We are seeing them from different angles in the two photos, so I think the noses can be the same. Also, we have to allow for a bit of “enhancement” in the professional photo shoot, so what some of you are seeing as a younger look on the left could be due to better makeup and a bit of photoshop work.

    I’m hoping someone eventually comes along with access to better software and can blow up the Instagram picture without it fuzzing out.

    Also, welcome, ST. Can you expand on why you see them as different people?

    • P J Evans says:

      They could be the same person – they’re not that different, and the fuzziness and the lighting could make a lot of difference in matching them.

      • John Paul Jones says:

        Don’t use the sharpening filter right away. First increase the pixel count, say by double; Photoshop has improved a lot over the last 3-4 years, and are now as good as third-party sharpeners (Photo Zoom is pretty good, but it cost about $100; only for dedicated nerds). That gives you enough math to play with when you apply a sharpening filter. Unsharp mask, in spite of its name (an analog thing) is probably the best tool to use in sharpening. Just fiddle with the parameters of it. There are three settings on the tool, but only the first two do much.

        • John Paul Jones says:

          I managed to reduce the JPEG artefacts, and smooth it out a bit, but a blurred picture is still a blurred picture, so, not much of an advance. To me they look like two different women, different hairlines particularly. Styles can change, but where on the scalp it begins, how it sits, that changes only slowly.

  6. Geoff says:

    I’ll play along. The biggest difference I see is that the blurry woman has a widow’s peak forehead hair, and the other has a distinctly rounded/arched forehead line with no hair pointing down in the middle. Aside from the they could definitely be the same. The photoshop person probably had colored contacts, the cheekbones are essentially the same once you adjust for the angle of the head turn, the eyebrows can be too variable in life to compare across to pics, the mouth shape is quite the same, including the relative thickness of upper and lower lips, and the curved bulbous nose is quite close. So, it is plausible they are the same, but the hairline gives me pause.

    • P J Evans says:

      The hairline could have been shopped out on the pro photo. The hair is otherwise very nearly the same style.

      • Geoff says:

        Yup. I’d put better than even odds the two photos are of the same person. It just seems a strange thing to photoshop out. But who knows. I no longer know the beauty standards of this part of the world.

  7. Valley girl says:

    I don’t think it’s the same woman. I googled “Inna Ponomarava” (actually it’s Inna Ponomareva) and looked only at images. There are a lot of pix (must be a very common name) but there is one that looks a lot like the woman in the business card- different angle, different hair color. It’s from an instagram acct —innaponomareva700`s Instagram Profile | Picgra
    Sorry I don’t know how to post a photo, or link to the pic.

      • Pajaro says:

        Thanks for reminder of my fav songs in High School. Yeah, song pales now. However related links on youtoob are nice. 50th High School reunion coming up…drat!

        • P J Evans says:

          I went to my 50th a year ago – it was fun. (So was the 40th. I think getting old makes a difference.) I was surprised at how few people in the class have died so far – that we know of. But some of those are people I’d have liked to have seen again. (80 out of about 450 showed up.)

  8. Knox Bronson says:

    I flipped the one on the left in photoshop and the resemblance is uncanny, but the one on the right seems to have a slightly pointier chin. Also, her hairline has a widow’s peak. It’s strange how much they look like the same person, but then …

    It sure would help if the right photo were in focus and the left didn’t have so much of her face covered with hair.

  9. PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

    I feel like Svetlana parnas’ image is a bit iffy. It maybe the filters, resolution, lighting, or even the camera but does it seem like there are weird blurs on her dress? Her face almost seems like a split of two people based on skin tone, each looking at the camera at slightly different angles.

    IDK maybe I need to clean my screen

  10. Eureka says:

    Those two pix do not at all look like the same person. It hits me like discordant piano keys.

    Even trying to account for all manner of photoshopping, plastics, fillers, hairline alterations, aging: unless there was craniofacial (malar- bony cheeks*) surgery in addition to a shit ton of other changes, nope.

    *plus orbito-frontal bony differences (including sides of eye orbits leading to cheekbones) ETC. Not seeing it. I would add the foreheads (and frontal bosses) are different but that could more easily be photoshopped “smooth.”

    • Eureka says:

      I’m re-looking to see if I can get over my initial impressions but can’t talk myself out of the differences, and end up elaborating more of the “etc.” (as in comments by Savage Librarian, Punaise, Ollie, and others).

      The woman on the right (vs. left) has a shorter upper face, longer lower face (really, more midface), a more “masculine” version of a feminine face: the left face has a ‘younger,’ more neotenous appearance beyond things like skin smoothness and hang. Also on right, wider angles to face per where the nasolabial folds land (and depth too) (lines from outer nose to outer corners of mouth). I ignored the teeth for the most part because of the popularity of implant chiclets, but it looks like there are differences in dental arcade shape right-left and anterior-posterior (right person has longer more angular face, arcade a little wider towards the back (L-R), more flaring outward at bottom of teeth (A-P)).

      While granting that image alteration software is way ahead of this game by now, if it was used here for the purpose of changing the right woman’s face, it is to the effect of making them look like different people. I can see how rubbing out the temporal part of the hairline discrepancy could change the shape of bony appearance there, for example (as with the forehead part as above: burnishing of the forehead hairline would have to be assumed as well, unless it was moved as the result of a face-lift or something).

      I don’t doubt the likelihood that the IG pix is of their old partner, “Inna Ponomareva,” though, from context.

      [The nasolabial folds on the younger one would put her at ca. at least mid- late 20s, maybe early 30s; has anyone entertained a familial/ descent relationship here?]

      I assume the left picture has been image searched. Any idea when it first shows up on the web (I see SL noted a 2019©, tho suppose that could more mean an updated website than date of image) ?

      • Eureka says:

        The separate photo of Inna that PJ posted at 719pm* (from December 2015) looks exactly like the woman on the left (tho woman on the left/business card is airbrushed by comparison).

        Neither looks like the woman on the right (from the April 2015 Instagram). Knowing the dates, it seems reasonable to conclude that even if– somehow/some why– the woman on the right underwent extensive plastic surgery to change her appearance, her face probably wouldn’t have settled (long-term swelling, etc.) by December of that year to look like a lived-in 30-something face.

        So with that additional info I (still) say the left/right women are two different people.


        • Eureka says:

          (* implant/veneer @1228am)

          I’ve since been able to see the WSJ video, which presents a crisper image of the IG woman. What I have described above — much of which is de-jargoned longhand for ~ slight (relative) midfacial prognathism* — can be seen even more clearly there.

          I recommend continuing to try to ID the “woman on the right” as a distinct individual from the “woman on the left.”

          *contrast relative orthognathism or flatness of (mid) face on left/ younger woman (I’m speaking strictly in terms of descriptive, comparative anatomy, not anything pathological).

  11. obsessed says:

    How about a regular Emptywheel podcast gathering the various writers and moderators to discuss the latest events? I think you’d quickly build up a massive audience. It wouldn’t have to be produced, or have super long episodes.

  12. Keith says:

    DJT “I don’t know those two gentlemen”
    That is an obvious tell that knowing them implicates him in some criminal activity in regard to which he hopes to maintain “plausible deniability”.
    He has done it often. It would be ridiculous if it hadn’t worked for him before in other cases where it was easily disproven.
    It seems Trump likely played with Lev Parnas as a youngster…

  13. Mary says:

    Parnas Release Video: Is it me, or did I just see Lev Parnas slip something to that gentleman perched at the top of the courthouse stairs? Please re-watch. Mr. Parnas exits, turns and says something, then seems to reach behind this guys back and then his jacket kinda poofs as he pulls his arm back??? Anyone know who he is? Maybe I’m wrong but thought I’d point it out, at least-

  14. e.a.f. says:

    My take, two pictures, one woman. One before seeing the stylist and one after. Eyes appear to be the same size, but the “after’ picture, she has make up and they eyes appear larger due to it. Can’t see her ears in the “after” picture, because that would give us a better idea. The mouth is the same shape and size as is the nose and chin.

    Oh, it would seem those boys have been friends with the Trumps for some time, sleazy, sleazy…..

  15. Googler says:

    I was leaning yes, but am now a no. Check out the photo of Inna from the Little Lighthouse Foundation fundraiser in Florida, about a year after the Parnas photo. Hairline, especially.

    • Jim White says:

      Thanks for that. It’s from December of 2015, so only about 8 months after the photo at Lique. Certainly the same woman as in the realtor’s photo. Definitely no widow’s peak, and it seems very unlikely to have been retouched the way a professional headshot would be, and so the woman in green at Lique is looking very unlikely to be Ponomareva.

      But there’s an interesting jackpot on that page, too. One of the other people is identified as Bruce Galloway. He shows up in a firm incorporated June 15, 2011 with Parnas and Correia. The firm was named Galloway Parnas Capital, LLC and Galloway listed a Sunny Isles address in the filing. The company never filed an annual report and was dissolved in September, 2012.

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