The head of the Crocus Group is one of the defendants in a lawsuit over interference in the U.S. presidential election. The billionaire is joined by the Russian government, the GRU, Trump’s election headquarters and the WikiLeaks resource.
The National Committee of the U.S. Democratic Party has filed a lawsuit in New York court accusing a group of individuals of interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. They are suspected of hacking into Democratic Party computers, stealing and distributing information that influenced the outcome of the election. Donald Trump is not among the defendants, but there are representatives of his campaign staff, as well as the Russian government, the GRU, the website WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange. Democrats also accuse Crocus Group head Araz Agalarov and his son, the singer Emin, of helping to elect Trump. A spokesman for Agalarov told Forbes that the billionaire is not commenting on the lawsuit. Earlier, Agalarov’s lawyer Scott Balber, in a Washington Post commentary, called the lawsuit “frivolous” and dubbed it a “publicity stunt.” “They had absolutely nothing to do with the alleged hacking of any Democrat computer system or any interference in the U.S. election,” Balber said of his clients.
Araz Agalarov is described in the lawsuit as a “close ally” of Vladimir Putin. The businessman met Trump in 2013, when the Miss Universe pageant was held in Moscow. That, as Agalarov himself said at a recent Forbes Club, was the end of their points of contact. “My employees, who work in America, were summoned and asked the same questions, but they couldn’t tell them anything new,” the billionaire admitted. – They were even accused of selling Trump Tower apartments to Russian oligarchs in the late 1990s and early 2000s. At the time, we didn’t even know each other.
The suit does not link the Agalarovs directly to the hacking attacks. But the document claims that in June 2016 (a month after Trump entered the presidential race), Araz and Emin Agalarov allegedly sent Trump’s son Donald an offer of help from the Russian state. The letter offered to meet with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and obtain documents about Hillary Clinton’s compromising ties. The meeting was held and was also attended by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, and Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager. The meeting was also attended by Irakli Kaveladze (he works for the Crocus Group) and former Russian counterintelligence officer Rinat Akhmetshin, whom the lawsuit calls a lobbyist.
Trump Jr. acknowledged the meeting and tweeted that he thought he would get “political opposition research” at the meeting, but was disappointed and considered the meeting a “waste of time.” Veselnitskaya recently told NBC News that she never had any compromising information about Hillary Clinton. Akhmetshin also confirmed the meeting, saying that he was “expecting a more serious discussion. Soon after this meeting, a massive hacker attack on the Democratic Party computer network was launched, accusing the Russian secret services.
The Democrats also demanded that the defendants pay for the damage, the amount of which will be determined in the course of the proceedings.