Over the weekend, Michael Avenatti, the attorney for adult film star Stormy Daniels, posted a series of photos on Twitter — and linked to a video — that appeared to show a man identified as a top Qatari financier entering Trump Tower in New York on December 12, 2016, along with Michael Cohen — the personal lawyer and “fixer” for Donald Trump.
At that meeting, according to a report in Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper published on Tuesday, Cohen asked the Qatari investor, Ahmed Al-Rumaihi, for “millions of dollars” that would then be passed through Cohen to “Trump family members.”
The paper cited “a senior Kuwaiti government source close to Al-Rumaihi” for its report of Cohen’s request. The Mail said that Cohen’s own attorney had not commented on the report, which as of 7:15 p.m. Eastern Time had not been confirmed by other news organizations.
“The Kuwaiti source told DailyMail.com that… Al-Rumaihi called him and boasted that Cohen had asked him for money in exchange for influence in the Trump administration,” the paper wrote in its May 15 report. Al-Rumaihi did not pass any money to Cohen, the Mail‘s source said.
The Qatari was identified in the media as Al-Rumaihi, a former Qatar diplomat who now heads a major division of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), a huge investment fund controlled by the country’s ruling royal family. In addition, Al-Rumaihi has been quoted in court documents as bragging about paying a bribe to Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
After a spokesperson for a company owned by Al-Rumaihi, Sports Trinity, initially said that the company had “no basis to confirm” that the Qatari investor was indeed the man seen in the video, on Tuesday the company confirmed after all that Al-Rumaihi did indeed attend meetings at Trump Tower on December 12, 2016.
Click on the video, below, to watch Al-Rumaihi entering an elevator in the Trump Tower lobby on December 12, 2016, as revealed by Avenatti. The video was taken from a C-Span video feed.
For comparison purposes, the below photograph from the office of the governor of Virginia shows Al-Rumaihi meeting in 2014 with the state’s then-governor, Terry McAuliffe.
Gov. McAuliffe sitting down with Consul General Ahmed Al-Rumaihi of the State of Qatar to discuss economic relations. pic.twitter.com/iBWQfphKdO— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) April 10, 2014
“Mr. Al-Rumaihi was at Trump Tower on December 12, 2016… in his then role as head of Qatar Investments, an internal division of QIA, to accompany the Qatari delegation that was meeting with Trump transition officials on that date,” the company said in a statement to CNN. “He did not participate in any meetings with Michael Flynn, and his involvement in the meetings on that date was limited.”
But Al-Rumaihi’s meeting with Cohen and other Trump transition officials has raised suspicions because it came just two days after the QIA purchased billions of dollars worth of shares in the state-run Russian oil company Rosneft. At least some of the shares in that sale — in which Rosneft sold 19.5 percent of the company — ended up with an unidentified investment group based in the Cayman Islands, where laws allow investors and company officials to remain anonymous. Read the Inquisitr‘s coverage of the Rosneft deal from January of 2017 at this link.
According to the Christopher Steele “dossier,” a collection of private intelligence reports by a former British spy and Russia expert Steele which alleges deep ties between Trump and Russia, the Rosneft deal was arranged as a payoff to Trump, who would then be expected to lift sanctions on Russia upon assuming office in January of 2017.
The Rosneft sale was finalized with QIA on December 10, 2016, according to a Reuters report. Two days later, Al-Rumaihi showed up at Trump Tower where he met with Michael Cohen and others. Whether he met with Trump himself is not yet clear, though the spokesperson for Al-Rumaihi’s company did not specify who attended the meetings other than Cohen,
“There were several meetings that took place between the delegation and Trump transition officials. During one, Michael Cohen briefly popped in,” the spokesperson said.
The Steele Dossier said that Trump adviser Carter Page had arranged the sale of 19 percent of Rosneft, not 19.5 percent, but one expert speculated that the additional 0.5 percent could represent money conveyed to Trump.
“It has been assumed that — if the Steele Dossier’s intel is accurate — the reason the Dossier says the Rosneft sale was of 19 percent but the amount of Rosneft bought was 19.5 percent is that the additional 0.5 percent was transferred to Trump as a brokerage fee. A 0.5 percent cut would be over $282 million,” wrote frequent Russia collusion scandal commentator Seth Abramson.
Avenatti said on Tuesday that he would soon reveal further details surrounding the meeting
“When the truth is disclosed relating to this meeting and the story surrounding it, it will redefine ‘ugly!’ As in very,” Avenatti wrote on his Twitter feed.