Behind the Scenes at Trump’s Infamous Night in Moscow—and How It Led to Twitterdammerung

The pop star. His billionaire dad. A couple dozen beauty queens. And the future president of the United States. Here’s what really happened at Miss Universe 2013.

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

MOSCOW—Donald Trump’s Russian-Azeri friend Emin Agalarov—who played a central role linking up Donald Trump Jr. with the Kremlin’s American election shenanigans—seems to think he’s funny.

On his Instagram account, the 37-year-old oligarch and pop star poses as a goofy character called Jose Mamedov in white jeans, a long black wig, a fake mustache, with a gun in his hand. And “Jose” is a walking disaster. He falls into a swimming pool; he crashes his motorcycle in the courtyard of a beautiful Spanish palace.

But to say that this Trump is a buddy known on stage as Emin is an entertainer is not entirely correct—businessman Emin Agalarov has much bigger ambitions.

During Trump’s campaign Emin’s billionaire father, Aras Agalarov, told the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda: “Emin and I have very good relations with Mr. Trump, who is now busy with his election campaign. Emin has just seen him [Trump] recently there in America.”

In what the BBC has called a twitterdammerung, Donald Jr., under pressure on Tuesday, tweeted copies of his emails with Rob Goldstone, a music publicist acting on Emin’s behalf who offered some sensational collusion with the Trump campaign in June last year: “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr Trump,” Goldstone wrote.

“What do you think is the best way to handle this information and would you be able to speak to Emin about it directly?,” Goldstone asks. If that’s not an option, he goes on, “I can also send this info to your father via Rhona [the senior Trump’s personal assistant], but it is ultra sensitive so wanted to send to you first.”

So, Emin is right in the middle of this thing: a pop star, oligarch, quasi-comedic Instagrammer who intends to be a player.

“Emin is the only heir of a giant business empire with close family ties to the monarchical rulers of two states, Russia and Azerbaijan,” Olga Romanova, an independent analyst, told The Daily Beast. “And he has big ambitions as a politician.”

Emin and his father hosted Trump’s Miss Universe beauty pageant in November 2013 at their Crocus entertainment center in the Moscow suburbs. Yulia Alferova, who was Emin’s closest associate and helped Agalarov’s to organize the event in Moscow, told The Daily Beast that the Agalorovs and Trumps were “good friends.” She spent a day with Trump in Moscow back then and could see the the way he interacted with the oligarchs.

Along with Phil Ruffin, Trump’s long-time partner in Trump International Hotel Las Vegas, the eventual president of the United States and Emin and Aras were doing their favorite thing: hanging out in the company of long-legged beauty queens around luxurious hotels. Later, on the night of the pageant, Herman Gref, the head of the giant Sberbank of Russia, and Agalarovs threw a huge dinner for Trump who had, in his turn, received the father and son in his casinos and estates in America before the contest.

That was a long and now infamous day for Donald Trump, which according to a salacious and unconfirmed by highly publicized report compiled by a former British spy, ended with Trump among “a number of prostitutes”  who performed  “golden showers” in a scene that supposedly (again, unconfirmed) was filmed to be used against old-man Trump at some future date.

Trump and everyone around him has denied vehemently the allegations, and Alferova that Trump seemed too tired on that trip to do anything naughty that night. “But in spite of his jet leg, Mr. Trump agreed to take part in the music video Emin filmed on the morning before the contest,” Alferova told The Daily Beast.

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In it, Emin appears at a business meeting. And who is his boss? Donald Trump. Emin drifts away into a dream, where he lives in an enormous mansion with luxurious furniture, a swimming pool and, once again, an array of lissome beauties, the actual participants in Miss Universe. But at the end of the meeting Trump tells Emin he’s got to go, using the famous line from Trump’s long-running reality show, “The Apprentice”: “You are just another pretty face, I am really tired of you—you are fired!”

This week, after the publication of Donald Jr.’s damning email traffic, which documented the eventual meeting between him,  his brother-in-law Jared Kushner, and Trump’s then-campaign manager Paul Manafort  with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselitskaya, the bearer of the supposed damagin news about Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton, Aras Agalarov told reporters that Trump’s boy had made everything up: “I think these allegations were made up. I do not know who makes them up. What does Hillary Clinton have to do with this? I don’t know,” Emin’s father said.

Aras Agalarov also explained in the interview with radio BFM that his son and Trump’s son “are about the same age, how can I know what sort of relationships they had?”

On Tuesday, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselitskaya denied her alleged connection with the Kremlin. She said that the topic she discussed with Trump’s family and campaign managers was not Hillary Clinton but the Magnitsky Act, an American law that blacklisted and imposed sanctions on several Russian officials as abusers of human rights. The Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov also denied any relations with Veselitskaya. “We do not know who that is,” Peskov said.

Meanwhile, Emin continues to live an eventful life. In the pictures Trump’s Russian friend posts on Instagram he rides around in luxurious cars and yachts, he sings pop songs and dates beautiful young women.

In several of his latest interviews, Emin praised his friend Donald  Senior’s business and leadership qualities.

In Russia, Emin performs in concert halls and opens huge real estate projects put together by his family business. A month ago, Emin’s Instagram documented his big night out with American musicians in Chicago and New York. He posted the captions in English and thanked Americas for a good time, which is rather brave in today’s anti-Western Russia—at least if you’re not an oligarch. It is not clear if there were any contacts between Emin and the Trumps on that trip last month.

Two years ago, Trump senior sent a video greeting to his Russian pop star friend Emin on Youtube. “You are a winner, you are a champ!” Trump said in his video post card.

But sometimes, Emin’s ideas appear clumsy, almost like his Instagram character Jose. According to Donald Trump Jr. the meeting with Emin’s alleged contact, lawyer Veselitskaya, was a wasted 20 minutes, as she had no valuable information for Trump’s campaign.  

Emin is a golden boy. No scandals are going to damage his cloudless life. His father is worth almost $2 billion, and their real estate empire is constantly growing. But his important connections do not end there.

The mother of Emin’s two sons is the daughter of Azarbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, Leila Ilham Kyzy Aliyeva. In 2015, President Vladimir Putin awarded Leila Aliyeva with a Russian state medal for strengthening friendship, peace and cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan.

The Agalarovs, who some Russian experts refer to as “the Russian Trumps,”  and Donald Trump’s family had close ties for years but not all of their projects worked out. Two years ago, Ivanka Trump visited Emin’s office in Moscow to and discuss real estate deals. But no Trump Tower ever appeared in Moscow.