- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Irakly “Ike” Kaveladze, an associate of a wealthy Russian oligarch with business ties to President Trump, has been named as the eighth person present at the now-infamous meeting last summer between Donald Trump Jr. and a Kremlin-connected lawyer.

Mr. Kaveladze, a Georgian native with U.S. citizenship, participated in the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower on behalf of wealthy Azerbaijani-Russian businessman Aras Agalarov and his son, Emin, his attorney Scott Balber told reporters Tuesday.

Mr. Balber said his client attended the meeting thinking he would translate for Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian attorney who the younger Trump believed to be in possession of damaging information involving his father’s former rival, Hillary Clinton. Ms. Veselnitskaya used a different translator, however, so his client’s services were ultimately not needed, Mr. Balber said.

“He served no purpose,” Mr. Balber told NBC News. “He left scratching his head wondering why he was there.”

Indeed, Mr. Kaveladze’s presence at Trump Tower last summer raised questions even before his identity was publicly revealed this week 10 days after details of the meeting first emerged. The New York Times first reported earlier this month that the president’s eldest son met with a Kremlin-connected attorney during his father’s campaign last summer, then subsequently learned that the meeting’s architect, music promoter Rob Goldstone, said a Russian lawyer intended to provide the Trump campaign with “high level and sensitive information” concerning Mrs. Clinton.

The president’s eldest son previously said he attended the meeting with his father’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and White House senior advisor Jared Kushner, but news reports ultimately identified several other participants, including Mr. Goldstone, Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin and Ms. Veselnitskaya’s translator, Anatoli Samochornov, in addition to Mr. Kaveladze.

The meeting is of interest to federal law enforcement and congressional authorities investigating Russia’s involvement in last year’s U.S. presidential race, and Mr. Balber said he received a call over the weekend from a representative for Robert Mueller, the special counsel overseeing the Justice Department’s probe into Moscow’s election meddling, The Washington Post reported.

“We are going to cooperate fully with the investigation,” Mr. Balber told NBC News. “They want to interview him.”

The Agalarovs have been friendly with the Trumps for years and helped bring the president’s Miss Universe pageant to Moscow in 2013. Mr. Kaveladze is a senior vice president at Crocus Group, a real estate development company owned by Mr. Agalarov, according to his LinkedIn profile. A congressional investigation into money laundering, meanwhile, previously found that Mr. Kaveladze had questionably moved about $1.4 billion through American banks using various shell corporations.

Officials in the House, Senate and Justice Department are investigating whether Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russian actors blamed with meddling in last year’s election. Both the White House and the Kremlin have denied involvement.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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