We haven’t heard much about this player at the Trump Tower meeting – it’s interesting that he is now coming into the spotlight.
In September, BuzzFeed, revealed that Aras Agalarov transferred millions into the U.S. in a suspicious manner after the Trump Tower meeting. Then in October, The Guardian uncovered suspicious financial activities by Agalarov just before the Trump Tower meeting.
Now BuzzFeed is exposing more suspect financial transactions surrounding the Trump Tower meeting – these involve shady payments made to Rinat Akhmetshin.
This is a long and surprisingly detailed report – hard to summarize, but here are some highlights:
A Russian-born lobbyist who attended the controversial Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 received a series of suspicious payments totaling half a million dollars before and after the encounter.
Documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News show that Rinat Akhmetshin, a Soviet military officer turned Washington lobbyist, deposited large, round-number amounts of cash in the months preceding and following the meeting, where a Russian lawyer offered senior Trump campaign officials dirt on Hillary Clinton.
The lobbyist also received a large payment that bank investigators deemed suspicious from Denis Katsyv, whose company Prevezon Holdings was accused by the US Justice Department of laundering the proceeds of a $230 million Russian tax fraud.
Side Note: Here’s a recent post outlining the web of connections between Prevezon Holdings and the Trump Tower meeting.
In the months before and after the meeting with the Trump campaign, documents show that Akhmetshin made unexplained cash deposits totaling $40,000, and received a wire transfer of $100,000 directly from Katsyv along with $52,000 from a foundation funded by Katsyv and other wealthy Russians to try to undermine that law. Bankers examining the lobbyist’s accounts flagged these transactions for a variety of reasons, including the inability to explain them, their overseas origin, and a suspicion that they showed Akhmetshin had violated federal lobbying law.
A half-million dollars of payments to that nonprofit, the Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative Foundation, have also come under scrutiny. Wired by Katsyv and other backers, the payments came two months before the Trump Tower meeting. Investigators at Bank of America, where the foundation held an account, cited the transactions as potential evidence of corruption and bribery in the bid to overturn the sanctions law, and provided them to Treasury, documents show. Mueller is investigating the foundation, Bloomberg reported.
Bankers at Wells Fargo said the transactions raised concerns that Akhmetshin may have violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by failing to register as a foreign lobbyist for the network of clients whose money flowed his way. That accusation has been echoed by the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who in 2017 requested information on Akhmetshin from the Department of Justice, which enforces FARA. Akhmetshin told the Associated Press that the Justice Department had contacted him in April 2017 telling him he should have registered under FARA. …