Up until this point, we’ve known that the now infamous June 9th meeting at Trump Tower included Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Rob Goldstone, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Russian lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, and translator Anatoli Samochornov. We had also known that there was an 8th individual who attended this meeting, which now appears to have been an attempt at collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
That 8th individual has just been identified as Ike Kaveladze, a senior vice president for Crocus Group. Crocus Group is the real estate development firm owned and operated by Aras Agalarov, Russian billionaire and father of Azerbaijani-Russian entertainer and businessman Emin Agalarov.
Kaveladze is a United States citizen and has worked for the Crocus group for 13 years. He was educated at the Moscow Academy and got a Masters in Business at the University of New Haven in Connecticut. Kaveladze did have a role in the 2013 Miss Universe pageant, which was held in Moscow by Donald Trump, so Trump has likely met him in the past.
Scott Balber, Kaveladze’s attorney, has said that investigators working for Robert Mueller have contacted his client for information, and although he has yet to be interviewed, they are already cooperating with prosecutors working with the special counsel. According to Balber, Mueller’s office contacted him this past weekend and requested the identity of the Agalarov’s representative who attended the meeting. Balber then revealed Kaveladze’s name soon after.
Back in 2000, Kaveladze was accused of opening thousands of corporations, along with bank accounts for each, in the state of Delaware. These companies and accounts were for clients in which Kaveladze did not know the true identities of. These shell companies were found to be laundering Russian money through American banks. The New York Times did an article about this massive money laundering scheme back in 2000. Here is a snippet from the 17-year-old story:
“In a nine-month inquiry that subpoenaed bank records, the investigators found that an unknown number of Russians and other East Europeans moved more than $1.4 billion through accounts at Citibank of New York and the Commercial Bank of San Francisco. The accounts had been opened by Irakly Kaveladze, who immigrated to the United States from Russia in 1991, according to Citibank and Mr. Kaveladze. 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, according to the report by the General Accounting Office, which has not been made public. The report said the banks had failed to conduct any ”due diligence” into identifying the owners of the accounts. The bank said outside counsel had been brought in to review the matter after being alerted by the G.A.O, and that ”no illegal activity in the Kaveladze-related accounts” had been found. In an interview, Mr. Kaveladze said he had engaged in no wrongdoing. He described the G.A.O. investigation as a ‘witch hunt.'”
When the New York Times reached out to Kaveladze this week, he said that he had done nothing wrong and called the current investigation a “witch hunt” as well.