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House intelligence panel to interview Kaveladze

Last Updated Oct 31, 2017 at 5:40 pm MDT

WASHINGTON – The House intelligence committee is set to interview Ike Kaveladze, who was among those at a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with President Donald Trump’s son that has captured the interest of investigators.

A person familiar with the interview said it will be held Thursday. The person declined to be named because the committee’s interviews are private.

Kaveladze, who also goes by the name Irakly Kaveladze, was at the meeting as a representative of a Russian developer who once partnered with Trump to bring the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow.

In emails ahead of the meeting, Trump Jr. enthusiastically agreed to the sit-down with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and others after he was promised dirt on his father’s rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton. He has since denied such material ever materialized. Kaveladze works for Emin and Aras Agalarov and was there to represent them, his lawyer said earlier this year. The father and son, who worked with Trump on the pageant in 2013, were named in the emails that promised damaging information on Clinton.

It is not the first time Kaveladze has been of interest to lawmakers. A 2000 New York Times story identified him as running a company cited in a Government Accountability Office report for laundering $1.4 billion in wealthy foreigners’ funds via U.S. banks using thousands of Delaware corporations.

Former Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, who ordered the GAO report, called Kaveladze the “poster child” of using hidden ownership of American shell corporations to launder money. His lawyer has denied that characterization.

The 2016 meeting was also attended by Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, music publicist Rob Goldstone and Rinat Akhmetshin, a prominent Russian-American lobbyist and former Soviet military officer.

In addition to Kaveladze, the committee will also interview Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign. That hearing is listed as “open in a closed space,” which a committee spokeswoman said means that it will be closed to the press, but a transcript will eventually be released.