Sergei Gorkov is a close associate of Vladimir Putin who reportedly studied to join the FSB, the Russian intelligence service, who currently serves as the chairman of the U.S.-sanctioned state-run bank Vnesheconombank (VEB).
In December 2016, Gorkov secretly met with President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and now senior adviser Jared Kushner; the meeting remained a secret until March 2017. As details about the meeting began to emerge, Gorkov and Kushner gave contradictory accounts of what took place. According to the White House, he met with Gorkov in his official capacity as the Trump transition team’s “official primary point of contact with foreign governments,” although the White House denied subsequent reports that Kushner was seeking to establish a backchannel between Trump and Putin. According to VEB, however, the meeting “was held as part of a new business strategy and was conducted with Kushner in his role as the head of his family’s real-estate business.” (Photo credit: TASS via Getty Images)