Senate Intelligence Report – III. Counterintelligence Concerns - Allegations, and Potential Misinformation, About Compromising Information

I. Allegations, and Potential Misinformation, About Compromising Information

Introduction and Findings

Russia has a longstanding practice of collecting compromising information to attempt to influence or coerce prominent individuals, posing a potential counterintelligence threat.
Allegations that the Russian government had compromising information on then-candidate Trump emerged in 2016, and were more fully made public in early 2017, through memos produced by Christopher Steele. Separate but related allegations, which were not public, in some cases predated both Steele 's memos and the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Collectively, the allegations raised a potential counterintelligence concern, that Russia might use compromising information to influence the then-presidential candidate 's positions on relations with Russia. The Committee sought, in a limited way, to understand the Russian government 's alleged collection of such information, not only because of the threat of a potential foreign influence operation, but also to explore the possibility of a misinformation operation targeting the integrity of the U.S. political process.

Of particular concern to the Committee were the following:









In the course of the Committee 's inquiry, witnesses provided information about two of Trump 's three known trips to Russia.
Some individuals the Committee engaged with have relationships with Trump and have traveled with him to Russia, others have never met him, and none of them were part of the Campaign. A number of witnesses told the Committee their memories were unclear, and some of the information they provided could not be corroborated. The Committee collected this testimony and other information, but it did not establish that the Russian government collected kompromat on Trump, nor did it establish that the Russian government attempted to blackmail Trump or anyone associated with his campaign with such information.

Separate from Steele 's memos, which the Committee did not use for support, the Committee became aware of three general sets of allegations.
First, testimony and other information provided by several witnesses indicated that an individual named David Geovanis alleged that he had information about Trump 's relationships with women in Moscow.

Geovanis is a Moscow-based U.S. businessman who holds a Russian passport and may be a dual U.S.-Russian citizen.
The Committee is not aware of Geovanis having any direct connection with the Trump Campaign. Geovanis has claimed that, during Trump 's travel to Russia, both in 1996 and 2013, Geovanis was aware of Trump engaging in personal relationships with Russian women. Geovanis has suggested that the Russian government was also likely aware of this information.

Geovanis has ties to Kremlin-linked oligarchs, several of whom are sanctioned by the United States.
Some of Geovanis 's contacts are also associated with Russia 's intelligence and security services, and some are involved in Kremlin foreign influence operations. Geovanis, who may have been under personal financial strain since at least 2013, has said that his relationships with former members of the Russian security services are useful for doing business in Russia. Geovanis also has a reputation in Moscow for a pattern of conduct regarding women that could make him, and potentially those around him, vulnerable to kompromat operations.

While the Committee is not specifically aware of Geovanis sharing his alleged information regarding Trump with the Russian government, he has not been discreet with it.
He is believed to have told a number of people in Moscow and elsewhere about some of this information, at least some of whom are in the U.S. expatriate business community, and he may have also spoken to the press about it. Geovanis refused to cooperate with the Committee 's investigation, and some of his communications indicate that he has recently avoided returning to the United States.

The second set of allegations relate to a Moscow-based businessman, Sergey Khokhlov, who overheard two people in Moscow, in October 2015, discussing sensitive tapes of a Trump visit to Russia.
He relayed what he heard to Giorgi Rtskhiladze, a friend and business associate of Michael Cohen. In October 2016, Rtskhiladze informed Cohen of the alleged tapes in Moscow, and Cohen informed Trump and several others. Cohen has said that there was no additional action taken, and that he had been aware of other similar allegations that began shortly after Trump 's travel to Moscow in 2013, none of which Cohen was able to corroborate.

The third set of allegations relate to an individual, then an executive at Marriott International, which is the parent company of Ritz Carlton, who overheard two other Marriott executives discussing how to handle a tape of Trump with women in an elevator at the Ritz Carlton Moscow.
Neither the allegedly overheard conversation, nor the content described, could be corroborated.

Apart from allegations related to Trump, the Committee found that the Ritz Carlton in Moscow is a high counterintelligence risk environment.
The Committee assesses that the hotel likely has at least one permanent Russian intelligence officer on staff, government surveillance of guests ' rooms, and the regular presence of a large number of prostitutes, likely with at least the tacit approval of Russian authorities.

Threat Posed by Russian Intelligence Services ' Collection of Kompromat










David Geovanis and Potential Counterintelligence Concerns

In some circles of the U.S. expatriate business community in Moscow it has been common for visiting businessmen to be taken to nightclubs or parties where prostitutes are present.
It is likely that Russian security or intelligence services capitalize on those opportunities to collect information. During the 1990s and into the 2000s, David Geovanis developed a reputation in Moscow, in part as a host for visiting businessmen. Several witnesses told the Committee that Geovanis also engaged in a pattern of behavior regarding women that made him, and potentially others around him, vulnerable to exploitation by the Russian intelligence and security services.

i. Geovanis 's Professional Background and Connections to Oligarchs

As previously noted, Geovanis is a Moscow-based businessman who holds a Russian passport and may be a dual U.S.-Russian citizen.
Geovanis worked in the United States before moving to Moscow in 1991. In Moscow, Geovanis worked as a representative for the American investor Bennett LeBow, developing and investing in real estate for a Russian-American joint venture called Liggett-Ducat and for Brookemil Ltd.. Likely starting in 1997, Geovanis worked for Soros Private Equity Partners in Moscow and London until approximately 2001 or 2002.

In 2001 or 2002, Geovanis went to work as a Managing Director for Oleg Deripaska 's Basic Element investing in real estate.
Oleg Deripaska is one of the Kremlin 's most significant malign influence operatives, has close ties to the Russian intelligence services, and has been involved in the targeting of foreign elections.

According to Robert Curran, a longtime close friend of Geovanis:

The way I understand it is that Oleg amassed this huge conglomerate of aluminum companies, and related resource companies, and he did so in a manner that would be considered less elegant in the west....
And he basically needed a guy that looked good on paper, that had some basic banking contacts in the west, and could go to a meeting and talk reasonably intelligently to western bankers to finance whatever operations he had there. So basically, David-although he had very few responsibilities at the actual company-he was just kind of the white guy that they brought in to help along with these meetings with westerners. From what I understand, it was a pretty cushy job. He was getting paid a lot of money, and his biggest complaint was he had nothing to do. So, they 'd just basically say, David, we need you to go to this meeting or that meeting. He had a big name in the company, he did n't do much, and I think eventually he lost interest, and he lost favor. I think he had very little actual contact with Oleg aside from these meetings, and eventually they went their separate ways.

By 2007 or 2008, after leaving Basic Element, Geovanis went to work for the investment firm London and Regional properties, again involved in real estate.
By 2012 Geovanis was working at TPS Group, which also invests in real estate and is associated with Arkady Rotenberg, a Russian oligarch closely connected to Putin. Rotenberg is now sanctioned by the United States along with his brother and son.

Curran suggested to the Committee that, by 2013, Geovanis was having financial trouble.

Following the 2016 U.S. election, Geovanis traveled to the United States.
In January of 2017, while in the United States, Geovanis met with Bennet LeBow, who subsequently offered Geovanis a job working for LeBow 's company, Somerset International, which sells machines for processing coal. The company, Somerset, did not have a presence in Russia at the time, and LeBow hired Geovanis to start a Russia-based office. Curran told the Committee that Geovanis ' efforts to sell Somerset machines in Russia were not going well. According to Curran, Geovanis" mentioned that he went to Oleg[ Deripaska] at one point to see if he could introduce him to some of these coal barons... he went to Oleg and said, help me out, I got this new job and I want to hold on to it.''

Somerset 's sales script Geovanis 's connection to Deripaska, as well as to Roman Abramovich, Viktor Vekselberg, Arkady Rotenberg, Alexander Ponomarenko and Nikolay Tsvetkov, several of whom are sanctioned by the United States and have close ties to the Kremlin or Russian intelligence.
Geovanis 's deputy at Somerset 's Russia office formerly worked for the Russian security services.

[ REDACTED] Additionally, as of 2017, Geovanis served on the Supervisory Board of 4finance, a company based in Latvia that is controlled by Russian oligarch Oleg Boyko.
Boyko has concerning ties to the Russian government, to Russian intelligence and security services, and to organized crime.[ REDACTED] Moldovan press has reported that Boyko was involved in a Kremlin-backed foreign election influence operation there.

Geovanis has been associated with the Russian state-funded Skolkovo Foundation and technology park, which has been controlled by U.S.-sanctioned Putin-associate Viktor Vekselberg.
Geovanis encouraged his current company, Somerset, to establish its Russia office at Skolkovo, which it did. The FBI has warned that the Skolkovo Foundation" may be a means for the Russian government to access our nation 's sensitive or classified research, development facilities and dual-use technologies with military and commercial applications.'' An outside paper published by the U.S. Department of Defense indicates that the Skolkovo Foundation is involved in the development of sensitive military technologies for Russia, and that" sophisticated physical security, consisting of cameras, thermal imaging, and alarms, also suggest that not all of the center 's efforts are civilian in nature.''


As of June, 2018, Geovanis was aware of media and Committee interest in him and seemed to be avoiding returning to the United States.

i. Geovanis 's Perceived Access to Trump in 2016
The Committee is not aware of Geovanis having any direct connection with the Trump Campaign. Nevertheless, Geovanis referred to his connections to Trump in emails around the time of the campaign, and others around Geovanis also seemed to be aware of these connections.

On May 17, 2016, Geovanis forwarded LeBow an outreach email from a journalist regarding Donald Trump and Russia.
Geovanis wrote," will not comment, unless the Donald wants me to.'' On August 8, 2016, Geovanis emailed Curran to notify him that Trump had listed Howard Lorber as one of Trump 's economic advisors. Other individuals in the expatriate business community in Moscow believed that Geovanis had a connection to Lorber.

On August 15, 2016, Curran emailed Geovanis a press article regarding Paul Manafort and Ukraine, writing," Your friend Oleg[ Deripaska] and Donald are mentioned.''

On October 23, 2016, Geovanis responded to an invitation to a upcoming holiday dinner in Moscow.
He wrote to a group of U.S. expatriate businessmen," I 'm in, unless Donald wins and appoints me as Ambassador.'' During the campaign, Geovanis also sent at least one Trump-related email that he signed" Mr. Ambassador.'' Curran told the Committee:

I think[ Geovanis] had a brief fantasy for a second that Trump would make him an ambassador.
It was sheer fantasy. I remember he actually looked into some of the qualifications and different levels of scrutiny-that he felt that once he looked into it that-I said, you 're crazy. No one is going to make you ambassador.

On November 10, 2016, Geovanis wrote to LeBow that" everyone in Moscow'' was excited about Trump 's victory and the prospect of" normalizing relations.''
Geovanis and LeBow then made plans to meet in January 2017, when Geovanis would be traveling to the United States.

Trump 's Travel to Moscow in 1996

Donald Trump and David Geovanis likely first met during Donald Trump 's travel to Moscow in November 1996, with other U.S. investors, to explore real estate development opportunities.





Several U.S. businessmen, architects, and other individuals took part in the 1996 trip.

Curran understood that" David was kind of like assigned to show[ Trump] around town, take him to dinner.''
Leon Black, who participated in the trip, told the Committee that Geovanis had" very good social skills'' but was" probably not as serious analytically'' and was" more junior.'' Black explained:

[ Geovanis] was I guess a combination of kind of knowing the geography, since he lived there, and knowing various people and had developed various relationships.
Back then you had the mayor, who was Luzhkov, and you had an artist named Tsereteli. He was always putting different people together with different, people.

Early in Trump 's Moscow trip a party was hosted by the Brooke Group, for Trump, at a room called" The Library'' at the Baltschug Kempinski Hotel, where the group of American investors likely stayed.


At the party, Trump may have begun a brief relationship with a Russian woman named[ REDACTED].
Theodore Liebman, an architect who lived in Moscow and New York in the 1990s, and who traveled to Russia with Trump and the other investors from the Brooke Group, attended the event. According to Liebman, shortly before the party Geovanis had a chance encounter with[ REDACTED] who Geovanis knew, and Geovanis invited her to the Brooke Group party.

Liebman told the Committee:

I went down to the party with David.
He drove me.... When we arrived, she[ REDACTED] was walking out of the Kempinski and knew David...[ David-RCB- said:" Why do n't you come to a party? We 're having a party upstairs for Donald Trump''... he said:" It 's a cocktail party. You should come. Donald Trump is going to be there.'' And she said:" Okay. When does it start? ''" In a few minutes. We 're going to go up and check the room.''

Curran told the Committee that, based on what Geovanis told him," I think[ Trump and[ REDACTED] might have had a brief romantic relationship,'' and that''[ Geovanis] said then that he saw them before he left and then he saw them again together... I 'm not sure if it was the next day or a subsequent day or whatever.
I do remember he said that he saw them together.''

Several historical press reports of which are Russian, indicate possible contact subsequent to the Moscow trip.
One[ REDACTED] article from 1998 reported:

... Donald Trump warmly welcomed the guests, among whom was the charming[ REDACTED]," Miss Moscow[ REDACTED] Trump recalled that two years ago, during his stay in Moscow,[ REDACTED] was for him the most beautiful hostess of the capital, whose charms were not overshadowed even by Claudia Schiffer and Tina Turner, who lived in the same hotel.
He recalled with pleasure the excellent company with which he spent time in Moscow.

In a 2007 interview[ REDACTED] was asked about her interactions with famous people, including Trump.
[ REDACTED] was quoted as stating:

With some I was briefly met by chance, while others there was a much longer relationship due to mutual affection.
For example, Trump is a person who I like very much. I can not call him a friend, because we do not call up and do not meet daily, but perhaps we would live in the same city( I am in New York or he would be in Los Angeles), we would communicate more closely. Let 's just say we are on a friendly footing.

Following Trump 's travel to Moscow in 1996, Geovanis may have had some contact with Trump in the United States.
Curran told the Committee," I know he[ Geovanis] went and met with him[ Trump] in New York at some point... David told me he went up to see Donald in Trump Tower,'' possibly in the late 1990s.

During and after the 2016 election, Curran and Geovanis continued to communicate about Geovanis 's relationship with Trump, and in some cases,[ REDACTED].

In January 2017, Geovanis, who was in the United States, visited Liebman at his apartment in New York and asked if Liebman had any photographs from the 1996 Brooke Group party at the Kempinski.
Liebman told the Committee that he had not seen Geovanis in a number of years prior to this.

On January 29, 2017, Liebman emailed Geovanis the photograph below, likely from 1996, depicting Trump and[ REDACTED] at Geovanis 's request.

The next day, Geovanis forwarded the photograph to Curran by email, with no message text.
Curran told the Committee that, following Geovanis 's meeting with Liebman in New York, Geovanis traveled to Miami and stayed with Curran for several days. During that visit they discussed the Brooke Group party in Moscow.

On January 31, 2017, Geovanis emailed Curran the photo below, showing Geovanis with Trump and others.
The email had no text:

Black told the Committee that he did not recall any compromising behavior during the trip.
Black also did not recall the event in the photograph. Black did recall going to a concert with Trump, followed by a" discotheque'' where they may have met others, potentially including Geovanis, but Black 's memory was unclear. Black later added that he and Trump" might have been in a strip club together.''

Geovanis is believed to have told others in Moscow, and elsewhere, of his 1996 interactions with Donald Trump.
It is not clear if these allegations are related to, or separate from, the interactions[ REDACTED] that was previously described.

Peter O'Brien, the former CFO of the Russian government-controlled firm Rosneft, has hosted an annual holiday dinner for expatriate U.S: businessmen in Moscow.
Likely at the holiday dinner in December of 2015, which more than 20 businessmen attended, a number of individuals were telling stories or jokes and Geovanis was encouraged to tell a story about a Trump visit to Moscow, the timing of which is unclear, that a number of people in the room had already heard from Geovanis.

( U) O'Brien recalled Geovanis talking about" spending time with[ Trump] during that trip, and the mention of Trump being with younger women, including in official meetings, which some people in Russia thought was weird.''
O'Brien, who said his recollection was vague, told the Committee:

[ Geovanis-RCB- told a little bit about how[ Trump] had spent time going around to some different meetings in Moscow to talk about potential real estate deals.
And the culmination of the story was that[ Trump] had a meeting in the Moscow mayor 's office and he showed up with two beautiful young women on his arm, and people thought that was kind of strange. A, that he was with them, and B, that he had n't just left them wherever he met them.

According to O'Brien," The implication of his story was that[ Trump] had spent the night with these two women and showed up at this first meeting the next day.''
O'Brien explained:

For years in Russia there were a number of Russian government officials or others who were exposed in these strip clubs doing not very nice things that their wives, if they have wives, probably did n't know about.
I think most of us appreciated that there was that risk in these types of clubs. So, I think once David told that story, we were all concerned about that.

There are indications that Geovanis may have also told this story to the press.
A February 2018 story in The New Yorker includes an anecdote that closely resembles the one allegedly told by Geovanis.

Almost a year later, on October 22, 2016, O'Brien sent an invitation email to the group of expatriate businessmen, including Geovanis, regarding the 2016 holiday dinner in Moscow.
In that email, O'Brien wrote," I keep thinking that VVP[ Putin] must have some great material on Donald.'' O'Brien told the Committee that this comment was based only on Geovanis 's comments at the holiday dinner the prior year.

Trump 's Travel to Moscow in 2013




Two individuals told the Committee that they recalled Geovanis describing spending time with Trump during Trump 's 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant.

Bob Foresman 's recollection was vague, but he told the Committee:

I remember some involvement that he[ Geovanis] had had with Trump when he came for the beauty pageant.
I think was what it was. So David Geovanis was the only person that I had ever met, to the best of my recollection, that had had anything to do with Donald Trump coming to Russia for this beauty pageant or whatever it was.

William Mcfarren, whose memory was also vague, told the Committee that Geovanis gave a toast at a holiday gathering, likely the same expatriate holiday dinner described above.
According to Mcfarren," To the best of my recollection, Mr. Geovanis said that he showed Mr. Trump around Moscow during the Miss Universe pageant in 2013. He did not get into specifics, but intimated that there was partying and that Mr. Trump should be nice to him in light of the information he had.'' The latter part of this statement may have been made in jest.

The Committee notes that Shugart, who was responsible for the 2013 Miss Universe pageant, told the Committee that she had never heard of Geovanis and did not recognize his picture.
Schiller, who assisted Trump at the pageant, also said he did not recognize Geovanis ' picture. Emin Agalarov told the Committee that he did not know Geovanis.

Other allegations regarding the 2013 Miss Universe pageant have originated from sources other than Geovanis, or at least can not be clearly linked to him.
For example, as discussed elsewhere in this Report, Schiller told the Committee that, on the 2013 trip, an unknown individual approached him with an offer of women for Trump, and that Schiller declined.

Separately, a former executive at Marriott International, of which Ritz Carlton is a part, said that shortly after the 2013 Miss Universe contest he overheard two other Marriott executives at a small corporate gathering discussing a recording from one of the elevator security cameras at the Ritz Carlton Moscow.
One of the Marriot executives who was involved in the conversation-previously a manager of the Ritz Carlton Moscow-had clearly seen the video, which allegedly showed Trump in an elevator involved with several women who the discussant implied to be" hostesses.'' The executive who had seen the video had asked the other, more senior, executive what to do with the recording. The former executive said the two discussants then left to continue the conversation in a more private location, and he did not hear anything further.

Neither executive who allegedly had the conversation recalled it, nor did they recall seeing the recording.
The Committee was not able to resolve these discrepancies.

Finally, Michael Cohen has testified that he became aware of allegations about a tape of compromising information in late 2013 or early 2014, shortly after the Miss Universe 2013 pageant and significantly prior to the 2016 U.S. election cycle.
The alleged tape related to Trump and prostitutes. Cohen has testified that he discussed the allegations with Trump, who asked Cohen to find out where the allegations were coming from. Trump told Cohen that the allegations were not true. Cohen has said that in 2014 or 2015 he asked a friend, Giorgi Rtskhiladze, to see if Rtskhiladze could find out if the tape was real.

Cohen estimated that, over the course of several years, six different people contacted him regarding the alleged tape.
Cohen stated that one individual threatened to release the alleged information if the individual was not paid a large sum of money. Cohen indicated that he would have been willing to pay the individual to suppress the information if it could be verified, but Cohen was never shown any evidence. Cohen has also said that individuals in the media contacted him regarding a tape of Trump.

According to Rtskhiladze:

During an October 2015 phone call that Mr. Rtskhiladze had with his friend and former business associate, Sergei Khokhlov, Mr. Khokhlov stated that while having dinner at a restaurant, Mr. Khokhlov overheard a stranger at a table next to him discuss tapes from Donald Trump 's visit to Russia.
The overheard dinner conversation was not important to Mr. Rtskhiladze and Mr. Khokhlov so they did not discuss this matter again. Mr. Khokhlov was aware that Mr. Rtskhiladze and his Georgian partners were in business with the Trump Organization. Due to the news about the Access Hollywood tapes and its potential impact on Mr. Trump 's reputation, Mr. Rtskhiladze sent a text message to Mr. Cohen to inform him that an individual was overheard discussing sensitive tapes of Mr. Trump 's trip to Russia.

A detail of Rtskhiladze 's characterization of this event shifted over time.
Rtskhiladze 's original written response to the Committee, through counsel, stated that Khokhlov" overheard someone at a party bragging about alleged tapes of Mr. Trump.'' An earlier letter from Rtskhiladze 's counsel to the Attorney General also characterized the event as a" party.'' In a second written submission to the Committee, Rtskhiladze through counsel included a clarification:" The comment about the tapes was not overheard by Mr. Khokhlov at` a party' per se, but specifically was overheard at a restaurant from an individual at a nearby table.''

Rtskhiladze 's subsequent exchange with Cohen via text message, believed to take place on October 30, 2016, reads:

This exchange was followed by a telephone conversation, possibly the following day, regarding the alleged tape.
Cohen said that he spoke to Trump regarding the text messages in October 2016, as well as to Donald Trump Jr. and to Schiller. Rtskhiladze has said that Khokhlov subsequently called and stated that the tapes were fake, but Rtskhiladze said this information was not conveyed to Cohen.


[ REDACTED] did not identify evidence of a later call from Khokhlov to Rtskhiladze.
[ REDACTED] did locate an email dated January 11, 2017,[ the day after unverified allegations were published] from Rtskhiladze to publicist M.A. Bonvicino reading," told MC there was something there b 4 election.'' When the publicist responded," I recall,'' Rtskhiladze replied," well that 's what happens when you visit crocus I guess.''

Though Rtskhiladze did not have personal insight into the matter, he assessed that if compromising material existed, Crocus Group would likely be responsible.

[ REDACTED] The Committee is aware of a realistic and well-resourced, but fake, video of someone who like Trump portraying him in a situation consistent with the uncorroborated allegations that were made public in January of 2017.
The video may have first appeared on the public internet in January of 2019.


The Counterintelligence Threat at the Ritz Carlton Moscow

[ REDACTED] As discussed elsewhere in this Report, during the 2013 trip to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant the Agalarovs arranged for Donald Trump to stay at the Ritz Carlton hotel.


According to two former employees of the Ritz Carlton in Moscow, in 2013 there was at least one[ REDACTED] officer Permanently stationed at the hotel.
This non-uniformed[ REDACTED] officer was believed to be a[ REDACTED] and had access to the hotel 's property management system, guest portfolios and notations, as well as the network of" hundreds'' of security cameras at the hotel. The[ REDACTED] was believed to be able to monitor the camera feeds from his office. It was believed that the officer reported both to his[ REDACTED] leadership, and directly to the owner of the hotel, Bulat Utemuratov of Verny Captial.

The former employees did not know whether there were cameras permanently in certain rooms, but both believed it was possible, and there was awareness of recording devices being prearranged in rooms in anticipation of the arrival of particular guests.
One of the former employees also believed that one of the drivers affiliated with the Ritz Carlton in Moscow was from the[ REDACTED] and had easy access to a secure government area.

Both former employees also recalled a significant presence of paid sex workers at the hotel.
One reported that a third-party security firm that was employed by the hotel was responsible for managing the women, in addition to its other duties.
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