The Russian billionaire involved in the Donald Trump Jr. email controversy is well connected to both President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Real estate tycoon Aras Agalarov is the father of pop star Emin Agalarov, whose publicist approached Trump Jr. about setting up a meeting with “a Russian government attorney” who would provide incriminating information about Hillary Clinton during last year's presidential campaign.
The emails from publicist Rob Goldstone said the "Crown prosecutor of Russia met with (Emin Agalarov's) father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father."
Aras Agalarov, 61, handled much of the development of Moscow after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. He was also Trump’s partner in the Miss Universe pageant, which Trump took to Moscow in 2013.
In 2013, Trump told Real Estate Weekly that he told a group of investors in Moscow that he was considering bringing a replica of the Trump SoHo hotel to Moscow. Alex Sapir and Rotem Rosen, co-developers on the Trump SoHo, later met with Trump and Aras Agalarov in New York to discuss the project, according to the report.
Aras Agalarov's business dealings put him in close circles with the Kremlin.
“He’s a major real estate developer,” said Ken McCallion, a former federal prosecutor who has been researching ties between the Russian government, Russian organized crime and money laundering in the U.S. real estate market.
The large projects Aras Agalarov built required political leaders to approve the condemnation of property in Moscow, McCallion said. “It’s generally understood he would have had the go ahead from the Putin inner circle.”
The senior Agalarov also tried to arrange a personal meeting between Trump and Putin during the pageant. But Putin and Trump were not able to meet, so Putin sent a gift to Trump with Agalarov’s daughter who brought it with her to New York City, according to a report compiled by Scott Dworkin for the Democratic Coalition, last updated in November.
Luke Harding, author of A Very Expensive Poison, which is about the murder of defected Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in Britain, met Agalarov while he was stationed in Moscow for The Guardian newspaper.
“He’s fantastically well-connected,” Harding said.
In April 2016, Agalarov and his father, Aras, told The Washington Post that they wanted Trump to be elected. Emin said that Trump and Putin would develop a strong personal relationship that would lead to less conflict in the world, according to the Post.