The Slatest

Donald Trump Jr. Meeting Also Included Accused Money Launderer Who Was Born in Soviet Union

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders at a July 11 press conference during which she fielded questions about Donald Trump Jr.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Last we checked, the infamous meeting that Donald Trump Jr., Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and current White House senior adviser Jared Kushner attended last June 9 at Trump Tower—a meeting the White House is trying to play off as a routine and uneventful act of campaign opposition research—included not just a Russian lawyer who said she had incriminating information about Hillary Clinton but also a former Soviet counterintelligence officer who was recently accused in U.S. court of being involved in illegal computer hacking. Outlets including the Los Angeles Times are now reporting that the meeting also involved a man named Irakly “Ike” Kaveladze, a native of the Soviet republic of Georgia who moved to the U.S. in 1991 and works for the Russian real estate billionaire Agas Agalarov. (Agalarov, according to emails that Don Jr. released himself last week, brokered the June 9 meeting on behalf of a high-level Russian prosecutor/fixer named Yuri Chaika.)

Here’s a 2000 New York Times report, headlined “Laundering Money Seen as ‘Easy’,” about a report by the congressional General Accounting Office that involved Irakly Kaveladze:

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 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.

Kaveladze denied at the time that he was involved in any illegal activity. It’s not clear whether the GAO investigation led to any cases against Kaveladze in criminal or civil court.