WASHINGTON ― There are now eight confirmed attendees of the June 2016 meeting that the eldest son of President Donald Trump took after being promised damaging information on his father’s presidential election opponent, Hillary Clinton.
CNN and The Washington Post on Tuesday identified the previously unnamed eighth attendee as Ike Kaveladze. The U.S. citizen, who was implicated in a money laundering scheme in 2000, is a senior vice president at Russian real estate developer Aras Agalarov’s company.
Agalarov’s son, Emin, is a singer represented by Rob Goldstone, the music publicist who arranged the meeting via emails with Donald Trump Jr. After The New York Times uncovered the meeting, Trump Jr. tweeted images of the emails last week, which he said was an effort to be “totally transparent.”
The emails mention those involved with the meeting as: Goldstone, Trump Jr., Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort. But in the days since, three more people who attended the meeting have been revealed: a lobbyist working with Veselnitskaya, an independent translator hired by Veselnitskaya, and now, Kaveladze.
An attorney for the Agalarovs, Scott Balber, confirmed to both CNN and The Washington Post that Kaveladze attended the Trump Tower meeting as the family’s representative, adding he is a U.S. citizen and has “never had any engagement with the Russian government in any capacity.” Balber told the Post that he believes there were no other attendees of the meeting.
Aras Agalarov had tried to develop a project in Moscow with Trump, and he and Goldstone helped convince Trump to hold the 2013 Miss Universe pageant, which Trump then owned, in Russia.
Balber said Tuesday that he received a phone call from the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller, one of several probes looking into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russian officials. This signals Mueller’s probe is actively looking into Trump Jr.’s meeting, which is the clearest indication yet that Trump’s campaign may have colluded with the country.
According to a public records search, Kaveladze, whose full name is Irakly Kaveladze, was born in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia in 1965, immigrated to the U.S. in 1991 and now lives in California.
Kaveladze has worked for Crocus Group, the Agalarovs’ company, since 2004. According to his several personal websites, his duties have included negotiating with Chinese and other international contractors, the construction of the Far Eastern Federal University in Russia, and developing “a chain of Russian do-it-yourself home improvement superstores known as Tvoy Dom,” which he described as “similar to Home Depot or Lowe’s” in the U.S.
In 2000, he was implicated in a money laundering scheme, in which he “set up more than 2,000 corporations in Delaware for Russian brokers and then opened the bank accounts for them, without knowing who owned the corporations,” The New York Times reported at the time. In total, more than $1.4 billion was transferred through the accounts that he opened.
“What I see here is another Russian witch hunt in the United States,” he said in response to a congressional investigation that uncovered his scheme.
This story has been updated throughout with more background on the meeting and on Kaveladze.