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Brother of Paris attacks suspect speaks to press

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Brussels: The brother of two of the suspects in the Paris attacks, who was freed from police custody without any charge, has said he had noticed “absolutely nothing” different about his brothers — one of whom died in a suicide bombing and the other is on the run.

“I was in no way linked to what happened on Friday in Paris, from near or far,” quoted Mohamed Abdeslam as saying outside his home in Molenbeek, Brussels, on Monday.

Abdeslam’s brother Brahim carried out a suicide bombing in Paris on Friday. His other brother, Salah, is the subject of an international arrest warrant.

Asked where he was on Friday night, Abdeslam replied: “I have an alibi all evening.”

His lawyer, Nathalie Gallant, said her client was in Belgian city of Liege on Friday evening with a business partner, with whom he is working on the renovation of a lounge bar. She said telephone records confirmed his presence there.

Abdeslam said: “We are an open family. We have never had a problem with the law. My parents are in shock and have not fully come to terms with what has happened.”

He added that he had noticed “absolutely nothing” different about his two brothers. As for the whereabouts of his brother Salah, he told reporters: “We do not know where he is. We do not know if he dares to surrender himself or not.”

“My family and I are moved by what happened. We found out about it in the same way as many of you. We did not think for one moment that one of my brothers was linked to the attacks. We were thinking of the victims and their families,” he said.

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Trump knew exactly what was going on: Giuliani aide

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Washington: An aide to Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, has said that the US President “knew exactly what was going on” regarding efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, it was reported on Thursday.

Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnass, who is facing separate criminal charges, made the comments in an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday after letters, phone records, notes and flash drives were obtained from him earlier this week, the BBC said in a report.

Documents show that the Ukraine-born Parnas was in regular contact with Giuliani as well as Ukrainian officials, and suggests that the businessman was directly involved in trying to have Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky look into the Bidens.

In the interview, Parnas said Trump was “aware of all my movements”.

“I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the President. Why would President Zelensky’s inner circle or (Interior) Minister (Arsen) Avakov or all these people or (former) President (Petro) Poroshenko meet with me?

“Who am I? They were told to meet with me. And that’s the secret that they’re trying to keep. I was on the ground doing their work,” he added.

Parnas further said that the President was lying and knew that unless there was an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who was a director of a Ukrainian gas company, military aid to Kiev would be withheld.

He also claimed that the investigation was about digging up dirt on Joe Biden.

Meanwhile, some of the materials obtained show Parnas and Giuliani discussing the removal of Marie Yovanovitch, the then US ambassador to Ukraine, said the BBC report.

In Wednesday’s interview, Parnas claimed the only motivation to get Yovanovitch removed from her post was because she was in the way of the effort to get Ukraine to announce an investigation into Joe Biden.

Trump was impeached by the Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives on December 18, 2019 and is accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The two articles of impeachment were sent to the Republican-majority Senate on Wednesday night, paving the way for the starting of a trial against the President.

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