Qatari investor Ahmed al-Rumaihi has confirmed he attended meetings in Trump Tower in December 2016 following social media posts claiming he met US President Donald Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen.
A spokesperson for Sport Trinity, a company al-Rumaihi co-owns, told CNN: “Mr al-Rumaihi was at Trump Tower on December 12, 2016. He was there in his then role as head of Qatar Investments, an internal division of QIA [Qatari Investment Authority], to accompany the Qatari delegation that was meeting with Trump transition officials on that date.
“He did not participate in any meetings with Michael Flynn [former US national security advisor], and his involvement in the meetings on that date was limited,” the spokesperson added.
Jassim al-Thani, media attache at the Qatari embassy in Washington, DC, said in a statement the meetings with the incoming administration in December 2016 were to discuss “many critical areas, including regional security, military cooperation, counterterrorism, and economic partnership”.
He said al-Rumaihi “was present at Trump Tower but did not participate in any meetings” with the government delegation.
He did not say who was in the meetings that al-Rumaihi attended, or what was discussed, but a person familiar with the Qatari delegation meetings at Trump Tower told CNN that Cohen “popped in” during one meeting.
Al-Rumaihi’s statement was released after a series of tweets by Michael Avenatti, lawyer for adult-film actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against Trump and Cohen, who claimed the Qatari investor had met both Cohen and Flynn.
Why was Ahmed Al-Rumaihi meeting with Michael Cohen and Michael Flynn in December 2016 and why did Mr. Al-Rumaihi later brag about bribing administration officials according to a sworn declaration filed in court?
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) May 13, 2018
Avenatti posted screenshots of a Trump Tower lobby video feed from December 12, 2016, where Cohen – who is currently under criminal investigation – appears to be entering and leaving Trump Tower with al-Rumaihi.
In a series of interviews, Avenatti raised questions about why Cohen appeared to have been involved with Qatari nationals visiting Trump Tower after the election.
“At this time, Michael Cohen has no position in the transition team in the new administration, he’s not a registered lobbyist, he’s not a registered foreign agent,” said Avenatti.
“He ultimately doesn’t have any role in the administration. He’s not a foreign dignitary, he’s not addressed with meeting foreign dignitaries in connection with the new administration. So, Don [Trump], what’s he doing?”
In April 2017, the FBI raided Cohen’s office and residence after receiving a referral from special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.