Politics

8th Person In Trump Tower Meeting Has Been Identified

(Photo Credit: Getty/Spencer Platt)

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter

The eighth person to attend the Trump Tower meeting has been identified as Ike Kaveladze, a real estate executive who was implicated in a possible money laundering scheme in the U.S. nearly two decades ago.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Kaveladze, a U.S. citizen, attended the June 9, 2016, Trump Tower meeting, ending nearly four days of speculation about the mystery man’s identity.

Lawyers for Donald Trump Jr., who set up the meeting, had declined for days to identify the eighth person even though the existence of an unnamed attendee was reported on Friday. The Daily Caller was told as of early Tuesday morning that President Trump’s lawyers were unaware of the man’s name.

Kaveladze, who has residences in the U.S. but splits time in Moscow, is said to have attended the meeting on behalf of Aras Agalarov, a Russian-Azerbaijani real estate mogul who has done business with the Trump family in the past.

Kaveladze is a vice president at Agalarov’s firm, Crocus Group.

The meeting was set up after President Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was approached by an acquaintance offering opposition research on Hillary Clinton.

Rob Goldstone, a publicist for Aras Agalarov’s pop musician son, Emin, told Trump Jr. that a “Russian government attorney” would be providing the information.

That attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, brought with her a translator and a Russian-American lobbyist who some U.S. officials believe is connected to Russian intelligence.

Trump Jr.’s lawyer and an attorney for the Agalarov family withheld the name of the mystery attendee until Tuesday. Scott Balber, an attorney for the family, is also representing Kaveladze. He has also represented Trump in the past.

Balber told CNN earlier on Tuesday that investigators working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller had identified his client.

Mueller is expected to speak to all eight of the people in the meeting to determine whether members of the Trump campaign attempted to collude with the Russian government during the presidential campaign. Trump’s critics have said that the meeting constituted collusion. His defenders have argued that any political campaign would had a meeting in which dirt on an opponent was offered.

Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort were also in the meeting.

Kaveladze has a prominent social media presence, including several blogs and Twitter accounts.

He claims to have started working for Crocus Group in 2004.

“As Senior Vice President, Irakly Kaveladze directly represents the company in a wide range of international projects and oversees professionals including engineers, architects, interior decorators, and designers,” a bio on one of his blogs reads.

That blog also says that Kaveladze was educated at the Moscow Finance Academy, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and economics. He earned an MBA at the University of New Haven in Connecticut in 2002.

Kaveladze also lists himself in other biographies as a member of the U.S.-Russia Business Council. That group did not return a request seeking information about his membership.

One item not listed on Kaveladze’s resume is his alleged involvement in suspected money laundering activity during the 1990s.

In 2000, The New York Times reported that the Government Accounting Office found that Kaveladze had set up 2,000 shell companies registered in Delaware on behalf of Russian brokers. Kaveladze, who was born in the country of Georgia and came to the U.S. in 1991, opened up bank accounts for the brokers, whose identities he did not know.

More than $800 million from 136 accounts set up by Kaveladze was wired from overseas to 136 accounts.

The GAO report did not investigate Kaveladze for any criminal wrongdoing, and he dismissed the allegations in the report as part of a “witch hunt.”

Balber did not respond to requests seeking comment on the allegations made in the GAO report. He has said that his client has no affiliation with the Russian government. Kaveladze did not respond to emails and phone calls seeking comment.

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