Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska sued Washington for the Associated Press (AP) for reporting on his connections with former US presidential campaign chief Donald Trump Paul Manafort. According to TASS, referring to documents from the judicial archive, the motive for the claim was "libel contained in direct or indirect statements" AP. "On March 22, 2017, the AP published an article by Jeff Horwitz and Chad Dey, in which false accusations were made against Mr. Deripaska of involvement in criminal activities and other offenses," the document says. The suit states that the lawyers of the entrepreneur asked the AP to refute the information, but the agency did not agree.
Lawyer AP Karen Kaiser promises that the agency will continue to defend its case and publication. In it, in particular, it was reported that in 2006 Manafort signed with the structures of Deripaska a contract with an annual remuneration of $ 10 million. The purpose of cooperation, according to AP, was the promotion of the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Business relations between Deripaska and Manafort, the agency claimed, were maintained at least until 2009. This report, AP notes, was based on interviews with people who had access to Manafort payment documents and its business records. Among them was a strategic memorandum and international transfers of millions of dollars.
Manafort himself previously confirmed that he worked for Deripaska, but insisted that their relationship was in the legal field. "I worked with Oleg Deripaska almost 10 years ago, presenting his business and personal interests in those countries where he had investments. My work for Deripaska did not include the promotion of Russian political interests, "he noted.
After the publication of links with Manafort, Deripaska published advertisements in American newspapers in which the agency's information was called "malicious lies", AP writes. In late March, the businessman wrote an open letter to the Washington Post, in which he argued that the AP article was "an easy combination of truth, fiction and anti-Russian attacks." The entrepreneur expressed confidence that the US agency was trying to "trample it" to get a sensation about Russia.
The press secretary of the Russian president Dmitry Peskov also denied the information that the Kremlin was the initiator of the contacts between Manafort and Deripaska.
Deripaska even expressed a willingness to participate in the hearings in the US Congress about his contacts with Manafort and promised to sue the individual or the media "for disseminating these false accusations." Putin, speaking at the Arctic Forum, said that he was not against the Russian businessman's speech to the US lawmakers, but noted that Deripaska was barred from entering the US.