- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 21, 2019

David Geovanis, an American businessman based in Moscow, is sought by senators investigating allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, a report said Thursday.

Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are interested in speaking with Mr. Geovanis, a Massachusetts native with known ties to both President Trump and Russian oligarchy, as part of the panel’s ongoing probe of the 2016 race, CNN reported.

Mr. Geovanis organized a trip Mr. Trump took to Moscow in 1996, and he later worked for Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire who also previously hired Paul Manafort, the president’s convicted former election campaign chairman, the network reported.

Two witnesses contacted by the Senate panel said they were questioned about the president’s relationship with Mr. Geovanis, and a third provided lawmakers with written testimony linking the pair, CNN reported.

The third witness told committee members that Mr. Geovanis “may be valuable in the mystery of whether Russia has material on Trump that could be personally embarrassing to him,” according to CNN.

Mr. Geovanis declined to discuss his relationship with Mr. Trump, and representatives for the panel’s top Republican and Democrat declined to comment, CNN reported.

The report marked the first time Mr. Geovanis has been named in relation to any federal investigations conducted into the 2016 race, the report said.

Manafort was found guilty of tax and bank fraud in connection with lobbying work he did prior to leading Mr. Trump’s election campaign, when he lobbied for clients including Mr. Deripaska, an aluminum magnate closely tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He is scheduled to be sentenced next month.

Mr. Putin’s government interfered in the 2016 race to help Mr. Trump’s campaign, according to U.S. intelligence officials. The allegations are being probed by lawmakers on Capitol Hill, in addition to special counsel Robert Mueller’s office on behalf of the Justice Department.

Moscow has denied allegations of meddling in the 2016 race.

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