Speed Reads

The plot thickens

The newly revealed member of Trump Jr.'s meeting was once implicated in a Russian money-laundering scheme

The newly revealed member of Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer last June was once implicated in a Russian money-laundering scheme, reporter Sarah Kendzior pointed out Tuesday. In yet another plot twist, it turns out that Ike Kaveladze, an American-based employee of Russian developers who attended the Trump Tower meeting, was targeted in an investigation in 2000 into foreigners laundering money through American banks. The New York Times wrote about it in November 2000:

A congressional inquiry has found that it is "relatively easy" for foreigners to hide their identities and form shell companies here that can launder money through American banks.

In a nine-month inquiry that subpoenaed bank records, the investigators found that an unknown number of Russians and other East Europeans moved more than $1.4 billion through accounts at Citibank of New York and the Commercial Bank of San Francisco.

The accounts had been opened by Irakly Kaveladze, who immigrated to the United States from Russia in 1991, according to Citibank and Mr. Kaveladze. He set up more than 2,000 corporations in Delaware for Russian brokers and then opened the bank accounts for them, without knowing who owned the corporations, according to the report by the General Accounting Office, which has not been made public. [The New York Times]

Kaveladze now works for Emin and Aras Agalarov, the Russian developers who hosted the 2013 Miss Universe pageant when Trump decided to bring it to Moscow. It was Emin's publicist, Rob Goldstone, who emailed Trump Jr. to set up the June 2016 meeting, promising that the lawyer had compromising information on Hillary Clinton that would boost now-President Trump's chances of winning the election.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Kaveladze's identity was requested by a "representative of Special Counsel Robert Mueller," suggesting Mueller is now investigating the Trump Jr. meeting.