The FBI is probing ‘suspicious money transfers’ made after the now infamous Trump Tower meeting.
The two transfers were made from a billionaire Russian real estate executive after the June 9, 2016 meeting between Trump campaign advisers and Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who promised she had ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton.
Aras Agalarov’s offshore company wired more than $19.5 million to his account in a New York bank just 11 days after that meeting, Buzzfeed reports.
Agalarov, who has close ties to Russian leader Vladimir Putin and was Donald Trump’s host when he staged the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013, made a second transfer on November 21, 2016, 13 days after the election.
The FBI is probing ‘suspicious money transfers’ made by Aras Agalarov after the now infamous Trump Tower meeting. Pictured: Donald Trump, Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo and Aras Agalarov in 2013 Miss USA Las Vegas
Ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who is accused of fraud, Trump’s son Don Jr. and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, also attended the meeting at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.
The ‘suspicions’ money transfers came to light after law enforcement ordered banks and financial institutions to look through records of people connected to the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
The banks then reported the ‘suspicious activity’ to the Treasury Department.
Investigators found that the Agalarov family made 19 separate wire transfers from their Russian accounts to a New Jersey personal checking account belonging to Emin Agalarov, the pop singer and billionaire’s son.
The account received more than $1.2 million between November 2016 and July 2017.
The personal account, which was only opened in 2012, then transferred the money to a company owned by a business associate of the Agalarovs who represented the family at the Trump Tower meeting; Irakly ‘Ike’ Kaveladze.
The infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting was also attended by Donald Trump Jr.
Kaveladze also has connections to British publicist Rob Goldstone, who represents Emin Agalarov, and was the first to propose the meeting with Trump’s team in the run up to the election.
The suspicious activity report is not necessarily evidence of a crime and the Agalarovs, Goldstone and Kaveladze have not been charged.
Goldstone’s spokesman called the report ‘ridiculous.’
An attorney representing the Agalarovs and Kaveladze defended the payments.
‘I’m actually perplexed why anybody is interested in this or why anybody in their right mind would treat this as suspicious,’ Scott Balber told BuzzFeed.
However, suspicious activity reports have been used to implicate Manafort.
Manafort is reportedly in negotiations with prosecutors after he was found guilty last month to funneling millions of dollars he was paid by a pro-Russian politician in Ukraine through his offshore bank accounts in an attempt to avoid paying tax in the US.
Mueller wants to question Emin Agalarov, (pictured with Ivanka in 2014 in Moscow) the Russian pop star who set up notorious Trump Tower meeting with Don Jr.
Negotiations have been ongoing between Trump’s legal team and the special counsel’s team on whether the president will sit down with Mueller for an interview. Giuliani and Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow want to limit questioning to the period before the sitting president took office to avoid charges of obstruction of justice. Mueller has not agreed to those terms.
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani claimed Sunday that the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting does not rise to the standard of collusion, because nothing came of it.
He doubled down on Trump’s assertion the meeting – which took place during the heart of the presidential campaign – was to get information on Hillary Clinton and claimed that the campaign’s participants did not know that the woman they were meeting was a Russian.
‘The meeting was originally for the purpose of getting information about Clinton,’ he said. ‘That was the original intention of the meeting. It turned out to be a meeting about another subject and it was not pursued at all.’
He claimed that the Trump campaign team didn’t know that attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya was a Russian national, even though she had a Russian name.
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani claimed Sunday that the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting does not rise to the standard of collusion
President Donald Trump carried hand-written list of leakers last year, following a non-stop flow of internal information about his White House
‘She didn’t represent the Russian government. She was a private citizen. I don’t even know if they knew she was Russian at the time. All they had were her name,’ Giuliani said. ‘They knew it when they met with her. Not when they set up the meeting.’
He added: ‘All they knew was a woman with a Russian name wanted to meet with them.’
Donald Trump Jr.’s own emails about the meeting, which he posted on his public Twitter account, acknowledge that the woman was a Russian.
The emails sent to Trump Jr via Rob Goldstone, a music publicist who represented Emin Agalarov, whose father, Aras Agalarov, is a major real estate developer close to Putin and who bought rights to the 2013 Miss Universe pageant that took place in Moscow and which Trump attended, said the meeting is with a ‘Russian government attorney who is flying over from Moscow.’
Explanations for the Trump Tower meeting, which has become a focal point of Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election, have varied, and a tweet from the president in early August added yet another layer when he wrote that the meeting was about Clinton.
The original statement from Donald Trump Jr about the meeting – which President Trump helped craft – said it was about Russian adoptions.
Donald Trump Jr. gave the New York Times a statement in July 2017, when the paper broke the story, that said the gathering was about an adoption program. His statement did not address whether the presidential campaign was discussed.
Veselnitskaya has led a multipronged attack against the Magnitsky Act, an American law that blacklists suspected Russian human rights abusers and championed by financier Bill Browder, who Russian President Vladimir Putin named during the Helsinki press conference as someone Russians want to speak to in exchange for letting Mueller talk to Russian nationals.
The Magnitsky Act so enraged Putin he retaliated by halting American adoptions of Russian children.