The domains, which include alternate-right.com, alt-rights.com and alternate-rt.com, were created in August 2016 during the presidential campaign season. That same month, CNN and other news outlets reported on the rising profile of the alt-right movement and its white nationalist connections.
Records show an employee, Frederick Intrater, whose brother Andrew Intrater is the CEO of Columbus Nova, used his company email address to register the web domains, and listed Columbus Nova as the registrant organization, along with the company’s address.
Frederick Intrater said in a statement that he used his own money to purchase the domains with the intention of later selling them for profit. He said he does not support white supremacy and added that he is Jewish and the son of a Holocaust survivor.
“I subsequently thought better of the idea of selling domain names which obviously now have connotations that are inconsistent with my moral beliefs,” the statement reads, adding, “I never told my brother or anyone else at Columbus Nova that I had done this.” Intrater said he did not use the alt-right domain names before they expired.
Public documents describe Columbus Nova as the US affiliate of the Russian investment company Renova Group, which is chaired by Viktor Vekselberg, who is a cousin of Andrew and Frederick Intrater.
CNN previously reported that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators questioned Vekselberg about Columbus Nova’s payments to Cohen.
In response to that reporting, Columbus Nova has attempted to distance itself from Vekselberg and Renova Group. However, internet records reviewed by CNN show that Frederick Intrater also listed Columbus Nova as the registrant organization when he acquired at least three domains that have the word “renova” in their names. The New York City operation renewed two of those domains as recently as 2016 and one as recently as 2017.
Those domains are titled renovausm.com, renova-usm.com and renovamedia.com. It is also unclear if they ever hosted content.
A Columbus Nova spokesman described Renova as a client of Columbus Nova but said Renova does not own or control the company.
Other domains registered to Columbus Nova include 1-800getalife.com, spiritsofwar.com and cnnjournal.com.
CNN collected the records through DomainTools, a cybersecurity firm that tracks domain registrations and transfers.
NBC News first reported the registration of the alt-right sites.
Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing adult film star Stormy Daniels, released a memo Tuesday that alleged Columbus Nova paid $500,000 to Michael Cohen through the same bank account that Cohen had created in 2016 to execute the hush payment to Daniels. CNN has not authenticated the documents that appear to show the payment.