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Who is Ike Kaveladze, the 8th Person at the Trump-Russia Meeting?

July 20, 2017

By Jett Goldsmith

Translations: Русский

On July 18, 2017, Scott S. Balber, the attorney representing the Agalarov family of Russian oligarchs amid an active United States investigation regarding the Russian influence campaign into the American elections, announced that he had privately named the 8th individual present at the June 2016 meeting between Trump campaign officials and Russian government proxies, which took place at Trump Tower in New York City.

Balber was previously named as representing Aras and Emin Agalarov, leaders of Russian real estate development firm Crocus International, after it had emerged that the developers set up a meeting with the Trump campaign on the promise of providing compromising information on then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump Jr., who released emails regarding the meeting, framed the event as gathering of opposition intel. The Russians at the meeting seemingly viewed the meeting as an effort to overturn the Magnitsky Act, and in doing so, hedge influence on matters of policy with the Trump campaign.

After multiple independent investigations announced they would be looking into the coordinated meeting, the Agalarov family released a statement by their lawyer, Scott S. Balber, a partner at the New York-based law firm Herbert Smith Freehills. Later, it emerged, an 8th and unidentified person had been present at the meeting. We now know this person’s identity, in part because of a statement released by his lawyer – Scott S. Balber.

The man, an American and likely dual Russian citizen named Irakly Kaveladze – a name which he later Anglicized as “Ike” – was said by Balber to be an “employee” of the Agalarov’s real estate development firm. Balber claims Kaveladze attended the meeting simply as a domestic representative of the Agalarov-owned firm Crocus International, and as a translator. However, Kaveladze’s history and relationships with the Agalarov family, and his alleged crimes against the United States, are far more complex and deeply rooted than revealed in initial public statements.

Ike Kaveladze, born in the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, emigrated to the United States in 1991, according to a 2000 New York Times article citing Citibank and Kaveladze himself. From there, he pursued an MBA at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, and worked extensively to establish thousands of Russian business proxies within the United States, which a Congressional inquiry by the General Accounting Office alleged had been used to launder nearly $1.5 billion through shell accounts at Citibank and the Commercial Bank of San Francisco.

“More than $800 million was wired from abroad to 136 accounts that Mr. Kaveladze opened at Citibank for Russian clients, and most of that was then sent to overseas accounts, said the report, which was provided to The New York Times by government officials who want to see its findings receive maximum exposure.”

Kaveladze avoided federal indictment due to Delaware state law, which does not require that the owners and officers of an incorporated company disclose their names. However, Congressional investigators alleged his role in the United States was almost exclusively to facilitate the laundering of money from Russian companies to avoid taxation, assisting Russian nationals in establishing credit card accounts and corporations within the United States by which to launder funds.

Kaveladze’s attorney, Scott Balber, has claimed in public statements that Kaveladze is an American citizen who has resided in the United States since emigrating from the former Soviet Union in 1991. However, this timeline appears to be in dispute; Kaveladze’s LinkedIn profile lists him as a Vice President for the Agalarov’s Crocus Group, a position to which he was named in 2004, and still presently indicates that he works out of the Crocus Group’s main offices in Moscow, Russia.

Despite being named as vice president for Crocus International, the Los Angeles Times identified Kaveladze as residing in Huntington Beach, California. A query into corporation registry records shows that Kaveladze presently resides in California, and is the president of Corsy International, an American-based proxy of the Russian real estate development firm Crocus International, for which Kaveladze is said to work. Corsy International was registered in the United States on September 3rd, 2015.

An inquiry into California Secretary of State records shows that Corsy International filed as a “Statement & Designation By Foreign Corporation”, which likely refers to the fact that Corsy International was registered as a corporation in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. However, importgenius.com, a website which crawls and compiles publicly available bill of lading data, indicates that Corsy International regularly conducts business with the Russian-based Crocus International. A sample shipment bill from November of 2015, two months after the establishment of Corsy International, lists a roughly $21,000 export shipment to Crocus International consisting of 500 traffic barriers at a gross weight of 8,165 kilograms.

Given the timeline of Corsy International’s registration, Kaveladze apparently returned to the United States solely to establish an American-based proxy of Crocus International. This is further evidenced by property management records from Kaveladze’s $870,000 home in Huntingon Beach, California, which show that he purchased the property in August of 2015, just a month before he registered Corsy International.

As Congressional and Department of Justice investigations into the Russian influence campaign continue, Kaveladze will likely be cast as a simple proxy for the Agalarov family, as he already has been in statements by the Agalarov family’s attorney. Given the Kremlin’s notorious penchant for employing proxies to conduct operations – including the Russian intelligence-linked hacking group APT28, which targeted Bellingcat’s own investigation into the Russian shoot-down of MH17 with an extensive spearphishing and credential harvesting campaign, and the pro-Russian group CyberBerkut, which carried out a similar SMS interception and website defacement campaign – it may be the case that Kaveladze serves as nothing more than a facilitator for various below-board actions by Russia’s oligarchy. There is presently no publicly available evidence to indicate what role,  if any significant one, Kaveladze may have had in the Russian influence campaign. As the public awaits the release of additional information in the case, it may be that Kaveladze’s role may be larger than presently known. Given the Russian government’s tendency to encourage several degrees of separation between government officials and covert government actions, however, he may also be disconnected in any direct form to any Russian government officials, and may not be of use to investigators attempting to establish direct collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.

Balber, the attorney for Kaveladze and the Agalarov family, defended Kaveladze’s apparent ignorance of the meeting. “He’s absolutely baffled,” Balber said. “Even the Agalarovs are absolutely baffled. Nobody had any expectation this would be what it’s become, especially this poor guy, who had not been involved before.”

It should be noted that Kaveladze employed a similar defense when accused by the US government of facilitating money laundering for Russian oligarchs. “Mr. Kaveladze vigorously denied that he had done anything wrong,” says the 2000 New York Times article on the incident. “‘What I see here is another Russian witch hunt in the United States’, he said in a telephone interview.”

However, given Kaveladze’s extensive history in operating as an agent of Russian oligarchs while within the United States, federal investigations into the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting may turn up additional or peripheral evidence potentially incriminating Kaveladze and Crocus International in crimes relating to finance and international trade.

Jett Goldsmith

Jett Goldsmith is a writer and analyst from Denver, Colorado. He formerly co-founded the investigative reporting and geopolitical analysis outlet Conflict News, and writes at length on Ba'athist state structures and various actors within the Syrian conflict. He has bylines in various publications, including Middle East Eye. You can follow him on Twitter: @JettGoldsmith.

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12 Comments

  1. Mad Dog

    So, I really wonder what went on in that meeting. Some fairly high power attendees and nothing happens? Did this guy fly out from Huntington Beach to attend this meeting and come away empty handed? Hard to believe, but the present administration is hard to believe as well. Nice little addition to the puzzle BC!

    Reply
    • Sean Lamb

      Not to worry, Mad Dog, the Bellingcat supersleuths are on to it.

      Probably something like:

      The Russians: Guys, you never guess what we’ve got. We’ve got emails showing someone on the Clinton campaign thinks Chelsea is a brat and some members of the DNC did some very small favours that helped Hillary against Saunders.

      Donald Trump Jnr: Oh man! Imagine when that gets out! It will sweep through America like wild-fire. The election is as good as ours!

      Reply
  2. Anon

    The linkedin profile has zero connections, undermining its usefulness as evidence of anything. It could have been created by anyone.

    Reply
    • Jett Goldsmith

      The LinkedIn profile communicates information represented across numerous online profiles, most registered around 2012. Had someone intended to create a fake profile with extensive and publicly verifiable information about Irakly Kaveladze, they would’ve assumedly done it after he had entered the news cycle.

      Reply
  3. Sunshifter

    Is it not worth mentioning that Scott Balber was Trump’s attorney at one point?

    Reply
  4. Dr. Da

    An amazing meeting of politOligarch proxies. Interesting how seamlessly the post-Soviet gray and mafia structures are now integrated in Russia’s “track five diplomacy”.
    A big swamp as the base for a big deal?

    Reply
    • Seija kinnunen

      I do believe that russian mobsters are leaded by FSB, and crime they do its, that they take honest peoples ID who newer can’t do any crime (often christian) and use they ID whothout authority+ whithout that origianal ID holder know that she’s ID had been seriously misused by FSB (state intelligence) russian criminal mobsters.
      Person whom name they misuse had never any contact with any russian’s and RED mafia open a bank account of she’s name in countrys she newer wisit to,
      So they use that, no one mind does not come to co ask in countrys she had never wisit : ” is it here any bank account in my ID” ..so they use fake “proxy” or some fake dpcuments that they have “authority’s” to use that person name to bank account’s to , in which they transmit billion’s of $,€,and all sort of carrency’s + oviously they open in all sort of offshore comppanys in countrys person never wisit to and does not know that russian oligarch’s monay launder ring had open a comppanys in she ID,
      They use wery strick, honest in deepest mean person ID from FINLAND,s and bossible from elsewhere..

      That person only see wery odd FSB surveillance 24/7 and all shes phones are lissen by FSB and she soo dreats around, like brake line broken/ cut in shes car in morning, no brake, and when/IF police investication start in somewhere faraway land (she never wisit to)
      They start to toxify that honest people by producin cronic toxity by installing to tap water (in person home) pipe (inside) some micro toxic capsuls which release tini toxins all time tap are used.

      They also broke a that person home with key in time she’s off or in deep sleep..
      So that’s russsian mafia, which are thousend time more evil than KGB or GRU in soviet time.
      Now they wictims are whoewer try to open they crime to be known.

      So
      “Offshore countrys” must put in trade bann list, that they will finished they support of criminal monay launder, and by that way multitute innosent murder’s (reporter’s, police’s and persons whom ID they misuse whithout person know it, and can’t make clame to any police, because does not know in which country they had open a bank account or comppanys in she’s ID, so she just look a russian FSB mobsters criminal activity around and poison lab horrow toxifivation with no any help of sosiaty.

      There are other way leacalise all drugs, because most of “oligarch” money are Drug money, which russian FSB leaded mafia transport oviously by submarine, “under a sea,where is no “custom” offisers,
      They have former submarine knolidge and submarine drivers who do it, because they are KGB/FSB .

      Trump are only one criminal among them,
      They need him to be president to by he’s power to use close all investivation off russian crime done in USA
      And if there are frosen bank account’s somewhere , they need “russian men” to be president of USA to sift frosen money back to russian criminal by hes power us president.

      Russia must be keep and put in total trade bann, that
      These FSB criminal’s van’t toxify whole world innosen’t people’s ..there are multitute of people whom they had toxify like crime investicator Litvinenco or crime wistle skribal, which both lived in country where have bossibility to ecxam nucliar toxity, which most of the countries have not,
      Russian poison lab are in world most dangerous criminals hand, traber’s and mogilewich and putin, who are only one of them.

      We can’t cange a russia but world must protect themself from russian by put and keep them inside of they country by take off travel and international trade bossibilitys from russian.
      And anyhow russia are (according of novorossia/dugin) coing back to total communism 2032-2040 so no any country must take they oil or nucliar power station (like finland are doing) because russia will tide them to russian hemisphere by saying “we have so much investment in that country and we have right to keep it in ouer rope”.

      “Investement” which country had payed to russia, but in russian maind “its russian state investement”

      Russia must be closed country in future that no one ceoss in or out there, that innosent people in world can live with peace and do they work whitout russian poison lab toxification, which compromice they working activity,
      KGB/FSB toxify those whon they follow 24/7 by microphone and cameras and all contact,
      Because its easier to follow people whos movement have been compromised (can only sleep in bed)
      By toxic.lab, because they have no energy to move, and act like healthy, so tahts why they toxify multitute of people.

      So only way to deal with russia its put like north coria, that no one cross they border in nor out, close it like it was in soviet time in they own will.

      If anyone do trade with russia state that counry must be handle like person who does trade with world most danger criminal, which belong to prison, but are free mafia power, that’s are my opinion.
      By unknown reader from finland

      Reply
  5. S.k

    2016 in Trump president argument in tv trump send massage to russian FSB (know that they follow they oun fellows all word) “russia, could you find a thousend of e-mail’s” (mean hilary clinton’s) could you release them” by that moment I know this massage was to russian sivret service and trump must be a “money laundering frend” with mogilevich, traber and sergey mikhailov who do a money launder and ordered murders and all which russian red FSB mafia state require, or he’s just a russian SPY?

    Now its cliar, trump are money launderer and example got loan to build chicago hotel by deutshe bank dellavare branch, and loan was origin from russian VTB bank
    So my opinion are that reprasentative parlamentarism are filled with mafios, today (nicholas sarkosy was oviously italian mafia architect by beeing berluscony personal frend and lawer advogate for decates and run french presidency by italian mafia order that any money launder crime italia had done in france will not see a day lite.

    So in reprasentative parlamentarism power are in very small reprasentative group that only mafios seems to be able to clime (with money) so high to be “nation reprasentative”. Exatly to mafios who cover to crime, and put fire off, if smoke are smelled.

    So wold must give up reprasentative parlamentarism system and move a nation parlamentarism (folk parlamentarism) like swiss, that all over xxxx € or $ expenditure must be desated by nation (folk) voting system, so by that way power will be chare’d in so small pease’s than nation have living person, so mafia can’t effect them all , like in reprasentative parlamentarism to get pass true to power it require so much money that only drug deeling oligarch has so much money,
    Us we see in syria, (assad) russia (putin and FSB) france, italy, USA, and multitude of country’s where mafios are president of country and by that way carrentee that laundered drug money will not never bee exposed..

    And honest people are not even keen to try to co to parlament’s which are filled with mafios.
    And are even danger, if you are not in same opinion or try to reval evilness of them, they will send a hit man of poison labs exetra behind.
    Trump are very danger to USA, because he must do all putin require, behause he is in same circle where they use “miss universe” its mean honest innosent person whom ID they will use in sicret monay launder, whithout that ID real houlder person know it, in country’s like dellaware or other criminal coutrys whos law have fabricated for money launder purpose by allowing anonymous bank account’s of offshore comppany’s owner or benificarys,
    Which I believe russian FSB mob use and call that person to “miss” and 2013 in moscow trump heald a
    NEW MISS COMPETITION, which oviusly mean they will take new person in whom ID they will misuse whithout person know it for money launder purposes and then kill that person, who never had and can’t do any wrong and does not know that in country’s where bank account can be open only by using person numbers..which russian mafia do, person’s are in code numbered not by name..
    And if bank or country does allow same, its very cliar that for absorbin Drug money in..
    And dellaware, panama, ect. +russia must put like north korea (coria) in trade bann for they criminal activities.

    And wolrd must turn in nation (folk) voting system
    And by that way power will return from “mafia” to folk’s
    And leagalise all drugs, because russian state army (FSB) are main transporter by submarines so who can cach them from botom of sea? Drug war had been lost a decates ago, and those who believe to winn it, let them start to jump to bottom of sea to stop drug submarines….and havy armed military helicopters to stop them.
    Must just clarify a people how danger its use a drug, and espessially deal at same time with most danger criminal,
    But it drug will be leagal they does not need to deal with killing mobsters, which make users life more safe, and no one press them to be prostitute or burgler to earn money to dealer, like it is now, when drug are illeagal.
    So keeping drug illeagal its mean support mafia.

    Drugs must be put to recular chemist (apotek) which are controlled by state, so users are well listed at same moment and can be followed and warned by offisers how danger it is to use drugs. But buyer must sined paper in ewery time when they pick up drugs, that they know that they harm themself and do a pain and worry about they parent’s and relative’s and loved one’s by destroying themself by using drugs.
    And I do believe that so called criminal Gang’s and motor cycle “hell angel’s type of drug traffiking and killers and payed murders will desappere by same way,
    Because most of crime come from that that drugs are not leagalised.
    And huge number of innosed murder of people (witness’es exerta) who had never notting to do with drug or any griminalism will be stoped by same moment when drugs are leagal.

    And envirement are more safe and oligharch,s it’s not needed any longer, because now they hold’s and launder a mobs drug money in they cheslea sport and other good looking activities..
    And keep they sicret “miss” (use honest innosent person ID criminal acrivities whithout person know it herself and then kill it by FSB poison lab product)

    They need’ed Trump to be presiden’t who as miss competion arranger with Agalarov + other’s know whot horrow evil they Do to that “miss”.
    Miss its symbol word language they use.
    Pregnant mean ; new person it’s under way whom name they will use whithout person know it.
    Abortion its mean assisted murder (often by toxin in russian manner)

    Sell proporty it oviously mean ” sell people to payed killer’s”

    So they can speak in phone to ” sell proporty ”
    And ohers does not know they are speaking of payed killing to some on.

    Or “miss peagant” or miss competition”
    People do not know they are speaking to take other person in line to misuse they ID whithout authority and whothout person himself know it.
    So Trump was and are deeply and knowingly with russian mafia, so deeply that he arrange a “miss competition” vote to take new person to misuse FSB monay launder ring..

    These “miss” are often in deep honest, not never can’t be involved in any crime ..person with clean paper’ s in all manner and behaving so that person FSB will choise and then murder and if Any Litvinenko try to reval whot FSB does together with Russian most danger criminal, they will put polonium, novi choch , mercury, dioxin or whot so ever..in they cup

    Moustly by put in tap water pipe tiny capsuls, which will open and release toxins all time person use water tap in they home.. and even there are children in eating a same pot, where victims gook, whithout knowing a KGB /FSB criminals had put toxin in it.

    And if victim stop using water tap they change a thyroxin or any medicin pottle’s person have and bring exatly similar looking and labelled pottle, and capsuls, in which have no medicin, but toxins for cronic toxity.

    Borders of russia must be closed and punish all coutrys who does trade with it, thats only way rest of the world to live in peace..
    No one can’t sivilize or educate them.
    Those criminals are much more danger than Hitler and we must not stay whothout doing nothnig or beeing naive “that we can sivilize “Hitler”.

    Unknown reader from finland

    Reply

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