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Moscow concert hall where deadly shooting took place has links with Trump

Crocus City Hall in the Moscow region, the scene of a deadly shooting and fire claimed by Islamic State, is a plush concert venue where former US president Donald Trump once held a Miss Universe contest.

It is a short walk from a Moscow Metro station and just next to Moscow city ring road, although formally it is outside the city limits.

The complex that also includes a shopping centre and conference centre holds events such as motor shows. At least 40 people were killed in the shooting on Friday.

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Russian firefighters at the Crocus City Hall concert venue following a shooting in Krasnogorsk, outside Moscow, Russia on Friday. Photo: EPA-EFE

The relatively intimate concert venue has attracted a range of Russian and international stars.

British comedian-turned-politician Eddie Izzard performed a solo show in English there in 2013.

Piknik, who were set to perform on Friday, are a popular rock group dating back to the Soviet era.

The venue was built by property developer Aras Agalarov, who is extremely well known and influential in Russia and has links to Trump.

Agalarov, 68, was born in Azerbaijan but is a Russian citizen.

He was listed as worth US$1.2 billion by Forbes in 2021. His company Crocus Group specialises in luxury retail and leisure developments.

Forbes Russia reported last week that Agalarov and his business partner and son, Emin Agalarov, had taken out personal loans to save the business, however.

The father and son came to the scene of the attack and fire on Friday night, Russian news agencies reported.

Emin Agalarov is also a pop singer and has given concerts at the venue. He is the former husband of a daughter of the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev.

The Crocus City Hall venue opened in 2009 and was dedicated to Muslim Magomayev, a pop singer famous in the Soviet era who also came from Azerbaijan.

US entrepreneur Trump held the Miss Universe beauty contest there in 2013, telling media he had invited President Vladimir Putin, who did not show up.

Trump soon afterwards appeared in one of Emin Agalarov’s pop videos and his connection to the family became a matter of public interest a few years later when he stood for president against Hillary Clinton.

Emin Agalarov in June 2016 arranged for Donald Trump Jnr, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and campaign chairman Paul Manafort to meet a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, who had offered damaging information on Clinton.

Agalarov told Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper that the meeting which he helped set up at his father’s request was “unproductive and useless”, however.

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