Russian Billionaire Aras Agalarov ‘Set Up U.S. Company Before Trump Tower Meeting’

Aras Agalarov, the Russian billionaire who orchestrated the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with campaign officials, anonymously set up a U.S. shell company a month before the meeting as he prepared to move almost $20 million into the country, The Guardian reports. Agalarov reportedly set up the company alongside an accountant who has had clients accused of money laundering and embezzlement, and the firm has since managed the U.S. finances of other Russians accused of mishandling millions of dollars. Special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into unusual financial activity and whether any of the money involved could have been used to fund Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election—but Agalarov denies this. Scott Balber, Agalarov’s attorney, said the company was formed for “real-estate transactions.” He said: “Mr. Agalarov has not used the money you referenced—or any other money—to fund any activity relating to the U.S. election.”