Who Is Ike Kaveladze, The Eighth Person at Donald Trump Jr.’s Russia Meeting?

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Irakly "Ike" Kaveladze is the latest person said to have attended a June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr., pictured here in April, and a Russian lawyer. Win McNamee/Getty

An eighth person who attended the June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer was Irakly “Ike” Kaveladze, a lawyer speaking on his behalf confirmed to The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday.

Kaveladze, 52, is a vice president at the Crocus Group, which is owned by Aras Agalarov, a Russian developer who in 2013 hosted the Miss Universe pageant, which President Donald Trump owned. He attended the Trump Jr. meeting on behalf of Agalarov and thought he would be acting as a translator, Scott Balber, the lawyer, told the Post. Natalie Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer at the center of the meeting, brought her own translator. That person was Anatoli Samochornov, a former State Department employee.

Balber said he had received a phone call over the weekend from a representative for Robert Mueller, the Department of Justice special counsel, requesting the identity of Kaveladze, and he said he complied. Mueller is overseeing the FBI investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible coordination with the Trump campaign. That request appears to be the first indication that Mueller is including the Trump Jr. meeting as part of his investigation.

Related: FBI director nominee weighs in on Trump Jr. meeting

Kaveladze is an American citizen and has lived in the U.S. for many years, Balber told the Post. A LinkedIn account that appears to be for Kaveladze says he has 10 years of financial management experience. The account says that the Crocus Group hired him in 2004 as an analyst and that he was promoted to vice president five years later. He handles investment project development, regional business planning and tax preparation, according to the account. He apparently helped secure the company $20 million in annual savings. He lives in Huntington Beach, California, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Before joining the Crocus Group, Kaveladze was part of a nine-month congressional inquiry into foreigners hiding their identities behind shell companies and laundering money. According to a report in The New York Times about the probe, Kaveladze was born in the former Soviet republic of Georgia and immigrated to the U.S. in 1991. He started the companies International Business Creations and Euro-American Corporate Services, established more than 2,000 corporations in Delaware on behalf of Russian brokers and opened up bank accounts for them.

Citibank eventually closed the accounts, but Kaveladze maintained that he had done nothing wrong. “What I see here is another Russian witch hunt in the United States,” he told the Times in 2000. 

Outside of his work at the Crocus Group, Kaveladze speaks at industry conferences and events and volunteers with the Moscow Regional School for Blind Children, according to the LinkedIn account and other online profiles. The profiles list his having received an undergraduate degree in economics from the Moscow Academy of Finance, in Russia, and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of New Haven, in Connecticut. One profile lists soccer and photography as hobbies.

 A Twitter account linked to one online profile, which has only 33 followers, includes retweets of a user wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat and the word deplorable in the profile, a reference to the word Hillary Clinton used during the 2016 campaign to describe some of President Donald Trump’s supporters.

The New York Times first reported on July 8 that Trump Jr. met once with Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin. The day after that report, the Times revealed that the person who coordinated the meeting had told Trump Jr. that Veselnitskaya had damaging information to give him about Clinton. In an email, the intermediary wrote that the information “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.” Trump Jr. replied, “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”

Trump Jr. has called the Times report “a big yawn,” and he released emails between himself and the intermediary. The president has defended his son, tweeting on Monday, “Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don jr attended in order to get info on an opponent. That's politics!”

But the news that Mueller, the special counsel, is looking into the meeting as part of his investigation suggests its significance. On July 12, Christopher Wray, Trump’s pick for FBI director, said during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing that an offer such as the one Trump Jr. received is the “kind of thing that the FBI would want to know about.”

Emin Agalarov, a Russian pop star and the son of Aras Agalarov, reportedly requested the meeting. A music promoter named Rob Goldstone made the arrangements. Also at the meeting were Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, and Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager. Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian-American lobbyist, also attended.