A Russian-American “lobbyist” linked to computer hacking attacks against business rivals, as the Inquisitr reported, who is a former Soviet intelligence officer, and who reportedly received large, secret cash payments before and after he attended the infamous Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr. in June of 2016, was the one person who attended the meeting whom Trump Jr. in congressional testimony said he was unable to recall.
According to a BuzzFeed News report on Monday, 52-year-old Rinat Akhmetshin received the cash payments totaling about $500,000 “in the months preceding and following the meeting.”
Trump Jr., along with his brother-in-law Jared Kushner, and Trump 2016 campaign chair Paul Manafort, took the meeting with Kremlin-tied lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and seven other Russians, as the Inquisitr reported, after being promised that they would receive “incriminating” information about Democrat Hillary Clinton.
But when asked about the meeting in congressional testimony, the Washington Post reported, Akhmetshin was the one person that Trump Jr. could not recall.
“People have said there was an eighth person. I just can’t remember,” Trump Jr. said in his sworn testimony. “I’ve heard the name. I don’t recall now.”
But another Russian who attended the meeting, Irakly “Ike” Kaveladze, in his own testimony painted a picture of Akhmetshin that indicates he would be difficult to forget.
According to Bloomberg News, Akhmetshin showed up at the meeting dressed in what Kaveladze called “highly inappropriate” fashion — wearing hot pink jeans, as well as a pink T-shirt, with loafers but no socks. Kaveladze also said that Akhmetshin loudly griped about being at the meeting, asking “Why are we here?” as Veselnitskaya gave her presentation.
At the meeting, Veselnitskaya complained about the Magnitsky Act, a law that imposes sanctions on individual, wealthy Russians who are believed to be involved in human rights violations and other crimes. According to the BuzzFeed News report, in the months leading up to and following the Trump Tower meeting Akhmetshin “received a wire transfer of $100,000 directly from (Russian oligarch Denis) Katsyv along with $52,000 from a foundation funded by Katsyv.”
Katsyv has backed a lobbying campaign to end the Magnitsky Act. His company, Prevezon Holdings, is accused by United States authorities of laundering $230 million in funds from a massive Russian tax fraud scheme. The tax fraud and money laundering operation was uncovered by lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, as Foreign Policy recounted, who was subsequently arrested and killed in a Russian prison — a crime that led to the creation of the Magnitsky Act.
A New York Times profile of Akhmetshin published last year described him as “a Master of the Dark Arts” of espionage and intelligence that were perfected by the Soviet security agency, the KGB.