A Russian pop star with close links to Donald Trump and who reportedly helped set up the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, has cancelled an upcoming US tour, with his agent citing fears he may be arrested by FBI agents working for Robert Mueller.
Emin Agalarov, the Azerbaijan-son of Azerbaijani-Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov, announced he was cancelling the five-date tour that included performances in both the US and Canada. The first was due to take place in New York on January 26.
“I really hate to be recording this message, but I’m left without a choice, due to circumstances beyond my control, I am forced to postpone my scheduled US and Canadian tour,” Agalarov said in a message posted on Facebook and Instagram.
“We planned these shows a year ago and had the full intention to come and play for you all. I bring my apologies to everyone who was looking forward to seeing us during those shows. We will have more information for you soon. Stay tuned, and thank you for your understanding! Emin.”
Agalarov and his publicist Rob Goldstone, a British former tabloid journalist turned music producer, had been instrumental in setting up the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower, that is now being scrutinised by Mr Mueller as part of his probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
The meeting on June 9 2016 involved Mr Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, Paul Manafort, his then campaign manager, Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Rinat Akhmetshin, a prominent Russian-American lobbyist, Ike Kaveladze, a business associate of a Moscow-based developer known to the Trump family, and a translator, Anatoli Samochornov. Also present was Mr Goldstone.
The meeting had been arranged after Mr Goldstone promised Mr Trump’s eldest son he had dirt from Russian sources about Hillary Clinton. The Agalarov family already knew the Trumps; Emin and his father helped Mr Trump take the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow in 2013, discussed a partnership to build a Trump Tower in the city, and supported the New York tycoon during the presidential campaign. Emin Agalarov was also a guest at the 2013 Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas.
In an interview with Bloomberg News, Agarlov, 39, said he feared if if travelled to the US he could be arrested and made to try and give evidence.
“I have the feeling that the US side doesn’t have good intentions – that they have a desire, given this anti-Russian hysteria, to turn me, a well-known person, into a circus show,” he said. “I am completely open and willing to cooperate, but I am not sure the other side is willing to give me that opportunity.”
Last year, the Democratic National Committee filed a suit against the Agalarovs, accusing them of colluding with Russia and Trump’s campaign to interfere in the 2016 election, Bloomberg News said. In December, the Agalarovs asked a US judge to dismiss the claim.
Agarlov’s US lawyer, Scott Balber, did not immediately respond to enquiries from The Independent. However, he told NBC News the cancellation was “most definitely” linked to the ongoing Russia probe.
“It has nothing to do with any substance,” Mr Balber said. “He could come and do the concert but we don’t want him to be subpoenaed or held under a material witness warrant or anything else.”