Aras Iskanderovich Agalarov (Azerbaijani: Araz İsgəndər oğlu Ağalarov; Russian: Ара́з Исканде́рович Агала́ров; born 8 November 1955) is an Azerbaijani Russian billionaire[1] real estate developer. Listed in Forbes as the 51st richest Russian in 2015, several sources have described him as a Russian oligarch.[2][3][4]

Aras Agalarov
Agalarov (left) with Dmitry Medvedev (right)
Born (1955-11-08) 8 November 1955 (age 68)
CitizenshipSoviet Union
EducationAzerbaijan Polytechnical Institute
Occupation(s)Businessman, developer
Children2, including Emin Agalarov

Early life


Born in Baku, Agalarov was educated at the Azerbaijan Polytechnical Institute. There, he studied computer engineering and was a member of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan and Baku City Committee.[5]



Agalarov then opened the first Crocus Inter store, which became a retail business that includes malls offering housewares.[6] This moved him into property development, where he built the Crocus City Mall, the largest shopping centre in Moscow. Adjacent to this he then built the largest trade center in Russia on the outskirts of Moscow, Crocus Expo, and has since developed a luxury housing development. He has partnered with Robert De Niro in Nobu Matsuhisa's two Moscow restaurants.[5]

In 2012, the Crocus Group [ru] built a new campus for the Far Eastern Federal University outside Vladivostok.[7] Agalarov says he had to buy a larger Gulfstream jet to visit the site, where he spent $100 million of his own money on cost overruns on the $1.2 billion campus of 70 new building on Russky Island overlooking the Pacific Ocean.[5] He then won projects for a Moscow superhighway and two stadiums for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.[5]

In January 2013, Agalarov and his son visited Las Vegas, Nevada, after Donald Trump, the beauty pageant's owner, announced at Miss Universe 2012 that the next competition would be hosted by Agalarov in Moscow.[7] He paid Trump $20 million to host the pageant.[5] In November 2013, President Vladimir Putin awarded Agalarov the Russian Order of Honor.[7] That month, Agalarov hosted Miss Universe 2013 at his Crocus City Hall.[7][8] Agalarov's wife acted as a judge on the panel while his son was one of the performers.[9]

Herman Gref, who runs Sberbank of Russia, Agalarov and his son hosted a dinner for Trump on the night of the pageant.[7] While in Moscow, Phil Ruffin, who is a partner in Trump International Hotel Las Vegas, and Trump met with the Agalarov and his son at the Ritz-Carlton.[7] Trump then appeared in a music video with Agalarov's son alongside many of the contestants.[7] Trump and Agalarov planned on a $3 billion project, with state-owned Sberbank agreeing to provide 70% of the financing.[5]

Agalarov has served as a liaison between Trump and Putin.[10] According to an interview, they once discussed the construction of a Trump Tower in Russia.[11] Agalarov had also reportedly tried to set up a meeting between the two, but this was canceled due to Putin having to meet the Dutch royal couple at the time. Putin instead sent Trump a fedoskino miniature.[12]

In 2014, Kyrgyzstan signed a treaty with Russia that named Crocus Group as the single supplier of services to integrate into the Eurasian Economic Union, avoiding competitive bidding on the $127 million deal.[5]

Agalarov's son, Emin, helped arrange Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya's meeting with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort in Trump Tower on 9 June 2016.[13][14] Following the meeting, Agalarov wired $1.2 million to a bank in New Jersey controlled by Emin, a transfer which is being investigated by American law enforcement.[8]

Emin said that after Trump won the United States presidential election in 2016, Trump sent them a handwritten note, saying he does not forget his friends.[7]

As of June 2017, he had an estimated net worth of US$1.91 billion, most of which is derived from his real estate ventures.[6] In January 2017, Forbes listed him as the 51st richest Russian.[15]

Personal life


Agalarov is married to Irina Agalarova and has two children. His son Emin Agalarov is a businessman and singer-songwriter. Emin was married to Leyla Aliyeva, the daughter of the current President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, until they divorced in May 2015.[16] Agalarov has twin grandsons from his son's marriage. In July 2017, Agalarov put his mansion in Alpine, New Jersey up for sale for $7 million.[17] The mansion eventually sold in November 2017 for $5.8 million.


  1. ^ "Агаларов Араз Искендер оглы". 15 April 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  2. ^ "The would-be president and the oligarch". Politico. 12 July 2017. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  3. ^ Cheney, Kyle; Herszenhorn, David (12 July 2017). "The would-be president and the oligarch". Politico. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  4. ^ "Manafort had $10 million loan from Russian oligarch: court filing". Reuters. 27 June 2018. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g MacFarquhar, Neil (17 July 2017). "A Developer and Kremlin Fixer With a Web of Trump Contacts". The New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Forbes profile: Aras Agalarov". Forbes. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Twohey, Megan; Eder, Steve (11 July 2017). "How a Pageant Led to a Trump Son's Meeting With a Russian Lawyer". The New York Times. p. A16. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  8. ^ a b Cormier, Anthony; Leopold, Jason (12 September 2018). "A Series Of Suspicious Money Transfers Followed The Trump Tower Meeting". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  9. ^ Snyder, Timothy (2018). The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America. London, U.K.: The Bodley Head. p. 103. ISBN 978-1-847-92526-8. He did the work for the Miss Universe pageant: it was hosted on his property, his wife was a judge, his son sang.)
  10. ^ "Inside Trump's financial ties to Russia and his unusual flattery of Vladimir Putin". The Washington Post. 17 June 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  11. ^ Pismennaya, Evgenia; Kravchenko, Stepan; Baker, Stephanie (21 December 2016). "The Day Trump Came to Moscow: Oligarchs, Miss Universe and Nobu". Bloomberg LP. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  12. ^ Cukier, Eva; Kuin, Frank; Somers, Maartje; Tervelde, Stef (21 March 2017). "Interactief: zo lopen de lijnen van Trump naar Poetin" [Interactive: this is how the lines run from Trump to Putin]. NRC. Retrieved 23 March 2024.
  13. ^ Apuzzo, Matt; Becker, Jo; Goldman, Adam; Haberman, Maggie (10 July 2017). "Trump Jr. Was Told in Email of Russian Effort to Aid Campaign". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  14. ^ Erickson, Amanda. "Natalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr., defends herself". Archived from the original on 13 January 2018. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Араз Агаларов". Forbes (in Russian). Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  16. ^ "Azerbaijan leader's daughters tried to buy £60m London home with offshore funds". the Guardian. 21 December 2018. Retrieved 18 August 2022.
  17. ^ "Russian Oligarch With Ties to Trump Meeting Is Selling New Jersey Mansion". News. 12 July 2017. Retrieved 6 June 2018.