Guest List at Trump Jr.'s Meeting With Russian Expands Again - NYTimes.com


WASHINGTON - A Russian businessman who helped arrange a meeting for Donald Trump Jr. to receive potentially damaging information about Hillary Clinton in June 2016 sent his own emissary to the session at Trump Tower, according to his lawyer.

Scott S. Balber, a lawyer for Aras Agalarov, the businessman, said Mr. Aglarov had sent an associate, Ike Kaveladze, to the meeting, which took place during last year's presidential campaign. Mr. Balber said Mr. Kaveladze had attended the meeting "just to make sure it happened and to serve as an interpreter if necessary."

In 2000, congressional investigators found that Mr. Kaveladze had set up more than 2,000 corporations in Delaware for his Russian clients and then opened bank accounts for them. The General Accounting Office looked into his activities as part of an investigation that ultimately concluded it was easy for foreigners to hide their identities and form shell companies to launder money through American banks.

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Mr. Balber, who also represents Mr. Kaveladze, said Mr. Kaveladze was never accused of any wrongdoing and was simply providing a financial service.

He said Mr. Kaveladze, who now serves as an American-based financial officer in Mr. Agalarov's real estate company, was contacted last weekend by a representative of special prosecutor Robert S. Mueller. He will cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the election and possible obstruction of justice, Mr. Balber said.

Besides Donald Trump Jr. and Mr. Kaveladze, the meeting was attended by a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian-American lobbyist and other officials from the Trump campaign.

Mr. Balber said Ms. Veselnitskaya, who had worked with Mr. Agalarov on real estate deals in Russia, asked Mr. Agalarov to introduce her to Donald Trump Jr. as a favor.

President Trump and Mr. Agalarov worked together in 2013 when Mr. Trump brought the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow.

The names of the people who attended the June 2016 meeting first surfaced in an email sent by Rob Goldstone, a music producer and publicist working for Emin Agalarov, a Russian pop star who is Mr. Agalarov's son.

"This is obviously very high-level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump - helped along by Aras and Emin," Mr. Goldstone wrote to Donald Trump Jr.

Mr. Kaveladze is Facebook friends with Mr. Goldstone and the younger Mr. Agalarov.

Mr. Balber said the Agalarovs had "no idea what Mr. Goldstone was thinking" when he wrote the email. "I would call it hyperbole or puffery," he said. "It is absolutely not true."

He described Mr. Kaveladze as a longtime American citizen who is fluent in Russian and nearly fluent in English. "They had somebody show up at the meeting to make sure the favor was executed, that they carried through on it. And now they are in the middle of this tremendous storm," he said.

Mr. Mueller's team, made up of veteran F.B.I. agents and prosecutors, thinks it has identified everyone who attended the meeting, according to one person familiar with the investigation. Agents and prosecutors are eager to question everyone who was at the meeting, the person said.