Rick Perry Falls Victim to Fake Call With Russian Pranksters

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry / Getty Images
July 26, 2017

Russian pranksters took a shot at U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry when they impersonated Ukraine Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroisman in a 22-minute phone call.

Perry thought he was having a breakthrough discussion about cyber hacking and biofuel with the Ukrainian prime minister, when he was actually another victim of the pranksters, Bloomberg reported.

The prank callers were the "Jerky Boys of Russia," Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov, who have also made similar calls to Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) and Elton John.

The pranksters arranged the call a few weeks after Perry's meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. In the call, they talked with Perry about President Donald Trump and a new fuel option made from alcohol and manure.

The duo also asked Perry whether Ukraine could get a better deal on U.S. coal experts and Perry engaged the idea.

"Negotiation is always possible," Perry said.

"We look forward to bringing some oil and gas interests to the Ukraine," Perry said.

The energy secretary also said that the Trump administration was in favor of sanctions against Russia, according to Bloomberg.

It is still unclear how the pranksters were able to connect with Perry through what are normally vetted phone lines. But Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes confirmed to Bloomberg that the phone call did take place.

"Secretary Perry is the latest target of two Russian pranksters," Hynes said. "These individuals are known for pranking high level officials and celebrities, particularly those who are supportive of an agenda that is not in line with their governments. In this case, the energy security of Ukraine."

Kuznetsov and Stolyarov have adopted the same practice as the Jerky Boys, an American pranking duo that sold millions of prank call recording in the 1990s. The two Russian pranksters have posted audio of their prank calls online.