Emin Agalarov is best known in Eastern Europe for his music, but he’s becoming known in the U.S. for his appearance in an email chain that led to Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya on June 9, 2016. The meeting took place just days after future President Donald Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination.
Over the weekend, the New York Times reported details on the meeting, which Trump Jr. first said was related to adoption, before issuing another statement saying he met with the lawyer in hopes to learn compromising information about Hillary Clinton. The Times reported that an email existed and before it could be leaked, Trump Jr. himself posted it on Twitter.
The email chain was between Trump Jr. and Rob Goldstone, a music producer who set up the meeting. In the emails, Goldstone asks Trump Jr. if he is “free” to talk with Agalarov about “this Hillary info.” Agalarov is a client of Goldstone’s.
Emin’s attorney later issued a statement, saying that the singer did not think the purpose of the meeting was to “convey information about Hillary Clinton or the campaign.”
Here’s what you need to know about Emin and his role in the Trump Jr. emails.
1. In His Emails, Goldstone Claims Russia’s Support for Trump Is ‘Helped Along’ by Emin & His Father
In the emails posted by Trump Jr., Goldstone tries to arrange a meeting between Trump Jr., Emin and Emin’s father.
“Hi Don, Let me know when you are free to talk with Emin by phone about this Hillary info – you had mentioned early this week so we wanted to try to schedule a time and day. Best to you and family,” Goldstone wrote.
“Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first,” Trump Jr. replied. “Seems we have some time and if it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer. Could we do a call first thing next week when I am back?”
On June 3, 2016, Goldstone writes that the “Crown prosecutor of Russia” spoke with Emin’s father Aras and “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.”
“This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump – helped along by Aras and Emin,” Goldstone continued. “What do you think is the best way to handle this information and would you be able to speak to Emin about it directly?”
The meeting with Emin and Aras never worked out, as Trump Jr. wrote in his statement on July 11. Instead, Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort met with Veselnitskaya on June 9. Here’s the complete statement from Trump Jr.:
To everyone, in order to be totally transparent, I am releasing the entire email chain of my emails with Rob Goldstone about the meeting on June 9, 2016. The first email on June 3, 2016 was from Rob, who was relating a request from Emin, a person I knew from the 2013 Ms. Universe Pageant near Moscow. Emin and his father have a very highly respected company in Moscow. The information they suggested they had about Hillary Clinton I thought was Political Opposition Research. I first wanted to just have a phone call but when that didn’t work out, they said the woman would be in New York and asked if I would meet. I decided to take the meeting. The woman, as she has said publicly, was not a government official. And, as we have said, she had no information to provide and wanted to talk about adoption policy and the Magnitsky Act. To put this in context, this occurred before the current Russian fever was in vogue. As Rob Goldstone said just today in the press, the entire meeting was the “most inane nonsense I ever heard. And I was actually agitated by it.
The Trump Administration has claimed that there was no useful information gained from the meeting.
2. President Trump Appeared in a 2013 Emid Music Video, Telling the Singer ‘You’re Fired’
President Trump also had interactions with Emid and Aras in 2013, when his Miss Universe pageant took place in Moscow. The New York Times reports that Trump and Aras worked together to host the pageant and the Trump and Agalarov families became close friends.
The Agalarovs even went to Las Vegas in January 2013 to meet Trump during the Miss USA pageant to discuss the upcoming Miss Universe pageant in November. The pageant was even hosted at Crocus City Hall, which carries the name of Aras’ company.
During the pageant in Moscow, contestants, including Miss USA winner Erin Brady, were “required” to appear in Emin’s video for the song “Amor.” In the video, the future President appears to tell a daydreaming Emin, “You’re fired,” just as Trump did on The Apprentice.
In an interview with the Times, Brady said the contestants weren’t paid for appearing in the video. She also described Emin as “much more outgoing” than she expected.
“He was excited that all of these women from all over the world were part of his production,” Brady said of Emin.
3. Emin Also Has Multiple Roles at His Father’s Crocus Group
Emin’s father Aras is like the “Donald Trump of Russia,” running the Crocus Group, a real estate development firm. The company even owns the largest retail-entertainment complex in Russia, called “Vegas.”
Also like Trump, Aras has his son play a key role in the company. Emin is First Vice-President of the company.
Emin has been working at Crocus since 2001, after he graduated from Marymount Manhattan College in New York. His first position was Commercial Director. He was promoted to Vice President in 2012 and became Executive Vice President two years later.
According to his company bio, his long list of responsibilities includes overseeing the two Vegas complexes (along with the third coming in 2017); the Crocus Group restaurants; the Crocus Group Mall and concert venue; and the Sea Breeze Resort in Azerbaijan.
4. Emin Was Married to the Daughter of Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev
Emin isn’t married, but he has two children, twins Ali and Mikail.
“In Azerbaijan, it is no secret that Emine and her marriage are formal in recent years. We have long been separated and live in different cities. It’s time to formalize our divorce, and we’ve decided to break our marriage. We remain friends,” Aliyeva wrote on Instagram in Azerbaijani.
Z-News.Link reports that Emin and Aliyeva also adopted a daughter, Amina, in 2015.
The Agalarov family has strong ties to Azerbaijan, since that’s where Emin was born. His family moved to Moscow when he was four. His family later moved to New Jersey when he was 11 years old.
5. Emin Is Friends With Jennifer Lopez & Opened for her in 2012
Emin has been friends with Jennifer Lopez since he opened for her in Azerbaijan in 2012, notes The Huffington Post. It provided him with a boost of popularity internationally, and he won the World Music Award two years later as a best-selling artist.
In that interview, Emin insisted that he earned his wealth on his own accord. He explained to the Huffington Post:
We had to earn our own money. My first job in the United States was working in the electronics department in Kmart. My second job was coat handling in a Turkish restaurant. Then I worked at a gas station. I’m not saying I had to get those jobs because I was starving, but I had to get those jobs because I didn’t have any pocket money. I had to go and work for that. My parents showed me that anything was possible if you worked for it.
Emin has recorded 10 albums in his career, including last year’s Love Is a Deadly Game. He sings in English and Russian.