Federal prosecutors in New York are investigating whether Ukrainian officials attempted to interfere in the 2020 presidential election to undermine Joe Biden and help Donald Trump, the New York Times has reported, citing unnamed sources “with knowledge of the matter”.

The criminal investigation includes examining whether the Ukrainian officials used Rudy Giuliani, then personal lawyer to the former president, to spread misleading claims about 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.

One of the officials being investigated is a Ukrainian member of parliament named Andriy Derkach, the newspaper reported.

The US 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 US 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 an investigation 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.