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Russia. Terrorist attack near Moscow. Who is Aras Agalarov, the owner of Crocus City Hall? Silhouette

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The owner of Crocus City Hall, where the terrorist attack took place on Friday, is Aras Agalarov, one of the richest people in Russia, a close person of Vladimir Putin and a good friend of Donald Trump. For years, the now 68-year-old businessman has carried out multi-million construction investments commissioned by the Russian president. His name also appeared in the context of the scandal related to Russian interference in the US presidential election in 2016. Despite this, he was not included on the list of Russian oligarchs subject to Western sanctions, even after Moscow's aggression against Ukraine, notes “The Insider” magazine. Meanwhile, Agalarov's wife and daughter have American citizenship and currently live in Miami.

On Friday, there was a terrorist attack on the Crocus City Hall concert hall in Krasnogorsk near Moscow. Responsibility for the attack was taken by the so-called The Islamic State, although – as commentators point out – Vladimir Putin is trying at all costs to link Kiev with this case, claiming that the attackers, who were detained by the Russian services, intended to escape to Ukraine. According to the latest information from the Russian authorities, 137 people died in the attack, including three children.

READ MORE: Shooting and explosions in a concert hall near Moscow. Killed and wounded

It is not known why the attackers targeted Crocus City Hall. However, it is known that the owner of the facility where the tragedy occurred is a person with close ties to the Kremlin.

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– I truly believe that Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is the perfect option for Russia. If he agreed to serve as president for life, I would accept it with joy, Aras Agalarov once said.

Crocus City Hall PAP/EPA/MAXIM SHIPENKOV

Who is Aras Agalarov?

Although most media refer to him as a “Russian oligarch”, he was actually born in Baku, Azerbaijan.

He is the owner of the Crocus Group development company. In 2002, he built Crocus City Mall on the outskirts of the Russian capital, still the largest shopping center in Moscow, and nearby he built the Crocus Expo international exhibition center – the largest in Russia. His company dealt with, among others, construction of the Central Ring Road of Moscow and two stadiums for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Algarov also carried out business projects in cooperation with the largest Russian arms corporation, Rostec.

Aras Agalarov and Dmitry Mededdev in 2011 Kremlin.ru

In 2015, Agalarov was ranked 51st on the list of the richest Russians according to Forbes magazine, which estimated his fortune in 2021 at $1.2 billion.

“Agalarov remains today one of the biggest executors of United Russia, Vladimir Putin's party, which organized its congresses at Agalarov's Crocus Expo exhibition center,” writes “The Insider”, noting that the oligarch, in whose office the likeness of Vladimir Putin hangs, receives multi-billion government contracts without tenders.

“Agalarov prefers to claim that he does not receive government contracts, but rather 'performs tasks' from the country's leadership. This also applies to tasks assigned personally by Putin himself,” the magazine notes.

Aras AgalarovShutterstock

Acquaintance with Donald Trump

Agalarov is also a good friend of Donald Trump. In 2013, they jointly organized the Miss Universe gala in Russia. The beauty contest, won by Venezuelan model Gabriela Isler, was held at the Crocus City Hall in Moscow, and Agalarov was to pay nearly $20 million for the license to organize it. The event also became an opportunity for meetings between Donald Trump's associates and Kremlin people, the New York Times pointed out.

During the gala, there was a concert by Agalarov's son, Emin, who is a singer, but also a businessman who works closely with Putin.

After the competition, Agalarov and his son hosted Trump for dinner, which was also attended by Herman Gref, who heads Sberbank, Russia's largest state-owned bank.

The intimacy between Trump and the Agalarov family may also be evidenced by the fact that in 2014, on Emin's 35th birthday, the future US president recorded a short video with wishes. “You're a master, you're great at real estate and, oh boy, you know how to entertain,” Trump said in the video. The current Republican candidate in the race for the White House also appeared in Emin Agalarov's music video for the song “In Another Life”.

Meeting at Trump Tower

Trump's relationship with Agalarov became famous in 2016 in connection with reports of Russian attempts to interfere in the US presidential election, which was ultimately won by Donald Trump, defeating Democrat Hilary Clinton.

A month after the election, the Washington Post reported on a secret CIA analysis that the goal of Russian intervention was Trump's victory, not just to undermine confidence in the American electoral system. According to the daily, the document referred to people “well known to the intelligence community” who took part in the operation “to increase Trump's election chances and harm Clinton.”

As revealed by the New York Times, less than half a year before the elections, the son of real estate tycoon Donald Trump Jr. met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in Trump Tower. The Russian was to provide “documents and information that will bring down Hillary and (reveal) her dealings with Russia.” The meeting was also attended by then-presidential campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Donald Trump Jr. he later said that he agreed to the meeting at the request of a friend, Rob Goldstone, whom he had met three years earlier at the Miss Universe gala in Moscow. Goldstone, a journalist and public relations expert in the music industry, admitted in an interview with The Washington Post that he helped arrange the meeting with Veselnitskaya on behalf of a client, Emin Agalarov.

Comfortable life in the USA

Despite open connections with the Kremlin, the Agalarov family lives a luxurious life in the United States and has not been included on any Treasury Department sanctions list, notes “The Insider”.

In June 2022, about four months after the war in Ukraine began, Agalarov, the magazine reported he transferred the deed to his apartment on Fisher Island in Miami (worth $4.3 million) to his wife Irina Agalarova. Documents show that their daughter Sheila also lives there.

Both have American citizenship and the right to vote in elections. “Irina is a Republican and Sheila is a Democrat,” reports “The Insider.”

The Insider, New York Times, Forbes

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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