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This O.C. Businessman Was Also At Trump Jr.'s Controversial Russia Meeting

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Left: Donald Trump Jr. at a January 2017 meeting at Trump Tower. Right corner: Irakly Kaveladze (Base photo by John Moore/Getty Images, image of Irakly Kaveladze via Twitter)
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Irakly "Ike" Kaveladze, a Southern California businessman born in the former Soviet Union, was present during the controversial June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump, Jr., and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Kaveladze, 52, born in Georgia, a former Soviet republic, now lives in Huntington Beach.

"Kaveladze 'was asked to attend the meeting purely to … make sure it happened,'” Scott Balber, a lawyer for Kaveladze, told the Times. “He literally had no idea what the meeting was about until he showed up right before.”

The meeting between Trump, Jr., and Veselnitskaya was meant to provide "damaging information about Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to help [Trump, Jr.,'s] father’s presidential campaign," notes the Washington Post.

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According to his LinkedIn profile, Kaveladze is vice president at ZAO Crocus International, a Moscow-based real estate development company headed by Aras Agalarov. Agalarov is an Azerbaijani billionaire who had planned to develop a hotel in Moscow with Trump.

A Wordpress blog titled "Ike Kaveladze's Blog" includes its own "About" section:

Since 2004, Ike Kaveladze has been the Vice President of the Moscow-based Crocus Group, which is responsible for the large-scale shopping development known as Crocus City. Ike Kaveladze holds responsibility for a variety of operational aspects, including investment procurement, tax planning, and loan portfolio and project management. Overseeing developments that include entertainment complexes, hospitality properties, and shopping destinations like Crocus’ 24-hour, do-it-yourself superstore Tvoy Dom, Mr. Kaveladze facilitates projects across the broad expanse of Russia.

As The Week points out, a New York Times investigation from 2000 implicates Kaveladze in a money-laundering scheme that saw "more than $1.4 billion through accounts at Citibank of New York and the Commercial Bank of San Francisco." Furthermore, by the year 2000, Kaveladze had opened more than 2,000 Delaware-based corporations for Russian clients since his immigration to the United States in 1991.

According to his online resume, Kaveladze received an undergraduate degree from the Moscow Academy of Finance, and then received his MBA in 2002 from the University of New Haven in Connecticut. He "maintains membership in the America-Georgia Business Council and the U.S.-Russia Business Council," the resume continues. He is also a member of "the Georgian Association in the United States of America, Inc."

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The Post adds that Special Counsel Robert Mueller called Balber on Tuesday to ask for Kaveladze's identity—marking the first public indication that Mueller is investigating Trump, Jr.,'s meeting.