Trump Jr. meet­ing had eighth at­tendee, Rus­sians’ em­ployee

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - ROS­ALIND S. HELDERMAN AND TOM HAM­BURGER

A U. S.- based em­ployee of a Rus­sian real es­tate com­pany took part in a June 2016 Trump Tower meet­ing be­tween a Rus­sian lawyer and Donald Trump Jr. That brings to eight the num­ber of known par­tic­i­pants at the ses­sion, which has emerged as a key fo­cus of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the Trump cam­paign’s in­ter­ac­tions with Rus­sians.

Ike Kave­ladze’s pres­ence was con­firmed by Scott Bal­ber, an at­tor­ney for Emin and Aras Agalarov, the Rus­sian de­vel­op­ers who hosted the

Trump- owned Miss Uni­verse pageant in 2013. Bal­ber said Kave­ladze works for the Agalarovs’ com­pany and at­tended as their rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

Bal­ber said Tues­day that he re­ceived a phone call from a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller over the week­end ask­ing if Kave­ladze would agree to be in­ter­viewed. Bal­ber said his client would co­op­er­ate. Mueller is in­ves­ti­gat­ing pos­si­ble Rus­sian

med­dling in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, and the re­quest is the first pub­lic in­di­ca­tion that Mueller’s team is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the Trump Tower meet­ing.

Donald Trump Jr. agreed to take the meet­ing on the prom­ise that he would be pro­vided dam­ag­ing in­for­ma­tion about Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton as part of a Rus­sian gov­ern­ment ef­fort to help his fa­ther’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, ac­cord­ing to emails re­leased by Trump Jr. last week.

Rob Gold­stone, a mu­sic pro­moter, told Trump Jr. in an email that his client, Emin Agalarov, a Rus­sian pop star, re­quested that Trump Jr. meet with the lawyer.

The full list of the par­tic­i­pants has re­mained a mys­tery un­til now de­spite a state­ment from Trump Jr. that he was re­leas­ing his emails in an ef­fort to be trans­par­ent about the meet­ing, which he has said amounted to noth­ing.

Bal­ber said Kave­ladze works as a vice pres­i­dent fo­cus­ing on real es­tate and fi­nance for the Agalarovs’ com­pany, the Cro­cus Group. Aras Agalarov re­quested that Kave­ladze at­tend the meet­ing on his be­half, Bal­ber said. Kave­ladze is a U.S. cit­i­zen and has lived in the coun­try for many years, ac­cord­ing to Bal­ber, who said he is rep­re­sent­ing the man.

Bal­ber said Kave­ladze be­lieved he would act as a trans­la­tor but ar­rived to dis­cover that the lawyer, Natalia Ve­sel­nit­skaya, had her own trans­la­tor, a for­mer State Depart­ment em­ployee named Ana­toli Samo­chornov. Samo­chornov has de­clined to com­ment, cit­ing a nondis­clo­sure agree­ment he signed as a pro­fes­sional trans­la­tor. Bal­ber said he be­lieves the list of par­tic­i­pants known to the pub­lic is now com­plete.

Other par­tic­i­pants in the meet­ing were Jared Kush­ner, the son-in-law of the pres­i­dent, and Paul Manafort, a top cam­paign aide, as well as Ri­nat Akhmetshin, a Rus­sian-Amer­i­can lob­by­ist who was lob­by­ing to lift sanc­tions im­posed in 2012.

Born in the Soviet Repub­lic of Ge­or­gia, Kave­ladze came to the United States in 1991. Ac­cord­ing to his LinkedIn pro­file, he has a busi­ness de­gree from the Univer­sity of New Haven in Con­necti­cut.

In 2000, Kave­ladze’s ac­tions as the head of a Delaware com­pany called In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness Cre­ations were the sub­ject of a gov­ern­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tion into how Rus­sians and other for­eign­ers were able to laun­der large amounts of money through U.S. banks.

A Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­abil­ity Of­fice re­port that had been re­quested by Congress con­cluded that it was “rel­a­tively easy” for for­eign­ers to use shell com­pa­nies to open U.S. bank ac­counts and route hid­den money through the Amer­i­can fi­nan­cial sys­tem.

The re­port de­scribed the ac­tiv­i­ties of In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness Cre­ations’ pres­i­dent, who Bal­ber con­firmed was Kave­ladze.

Bal­ber said Kave­ladze was not charged with any crime as a re­sult of the in­quiry, which he said was largely fo­cused on the in­ter­nal pro­ce­dures of U.S. banks.

“There has never been any in­di­ca­tion that he did any­thing wrong,” Bal­ber said. “From his per­spec­tive, it was a big noth­ing.”

Ac­cord­ing to the GAO, Kave­ladze opened 236 bank ac­counts in the U.S. for cor­po­ra­tions formed in Delaware on be­half of mostly Rus­sian bro­kers. Kave­ladze told of­fi­cers of two U.S. banks that he had con­ducted in­ves­ti­ga­tions of the Rus­sian com­pa­nies for which he opened ac­counts. How­ever, he told in­ves­ti­ga­tors that was not true.

“He ad­mit­ted to us that he made such rep­re­sen­ta­tions to the banks but that he in fact had not in­ves­ti­gated the com­pa­nies,” the re­port said.

All told, the re­port traced the move­ment of $1.4 bil­lion in wire trans­fer trans­ac­tions de­posited in 236 ac­counts opened at the two banks, Citibank and Com­mer­cial Bank.

Bal­ber said Kave­ladze works as a vice pres­i­dent fo­cus­ing on real es­tate and fi­nance for the Agalarovs’ com­pany, the Cro­cus Group. Aras Agalarov re­quested that Kave­ladze at­tend the meet­ing on his be­half, Bal­ber said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.