Russia magnate calls Trump Jr emails 'fiction'





Moscow (AFP) - A Russian billionaire on Wednesday blasted claims in emails released by Donald Trump Jr that he was a potential middleman for alleged incriminating Kremlin material on Hillary Clinton, as Moscow again denied any role in the scandal.

The emails have thrust US leader Donald Trump's eldest son into the centre of a growing firestorm over whether the president's allies colluded with Moscow in its alleged efforts to tilt last year's election in the Republican's favour.

A June 2016 email from British music promoter Rob Goldstone to Trump Jr released on Tuesday claims an offer was allegedly made by Russia's general prosecutor to provide the Trump campaign with "official documents" on Clinton during a meeting with real estate mogul Aras Agalarov.

Goldstone says the Russian prosecutor "offered to provide the Trump campaign" with "very high level and sensitive information" as "part of Russia and its government's support" for his father.

Goldstone claimed to have been tipped off by Agalarov's pop star son Emin, whom he managed, and went on to help organise a meeting between a lawyer he said was a "Russian government attorney" and Trump Jr.

The Agalarov family has established ties to the Trumps and brought the future US leader to Moscow for the 2013 Miss Universe beauty competition.

- 'Making it up' -

But Agalarov rubbished the emails touting him as a possible go-between for the Trumps and the Kremlin and said he only vaguely knew Goldstone.

"I think this is some sort of fiction. I don't know who is making it up," Agalarov told Russia's Business FM radio station, according to a transcript posted online.

"What has Hillary Clinton got to do with anything? I don't know. I really don't know Rob Goldstone well."

In the email exchange which was released by Trump Jr, the president's eldest son suggested he would "love" to get any dirt on Clinton.

US intelligence agencies have accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of approving a hacking and influence campaign to sway the vote, claims fiercely denied in Moscow.

- Lobbyist lawyer -

Trump Jr and two other top campaign officials eventually met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 2016 but both sides insist she provided no information on Clinton.

A publicist for Emin Agalarov directed all questions on the issue to his lawyer. The Russian prosecutors office did not respond to questions.

Trump Jr has said that rather than discussing Clinton, lawyer Veselnitskaya focused on a 2012 US law called the Magnitsky Act that targeted Russian officials and drew fury from the Kremlin.

The legislation slapped sanctions on Russian officials allegedly involved in the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who had tried to fight a major fraud scheme against US-British investor Bill Browder.

The Russian government then banned the adoption of Russian children by Americans in retaliation.

Veselnitskaya -- who made her name litigating murky property disputes in the region around Moscow -- has long lobbied for the Magnitsky Act to be repealed and defended a firm accused in the US of money laundering over the case.

Veselnitskaya has denied she has any contacts to the Russian government and the Kremlin on Wednesday once again insisted it had no ties to her or her meeting with Trump Jr.

"We have already said that we are absolutely not familiar with this whole story," spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

"We never had any contact with this lawyer, that is why we are not in the loop and have nothing to say. She doesn't have even the slightest relation to us."

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