Visa-free Oleg Deripaska

Oleg Deripaska paid 560 thousand dollars for the American visa, but eventually was deprived of it, as "connected with organized crime", writes the Wall Street Journal.
Oleg Deripaska, against whom the US imposed sanctions on April 6, tried for many years, but could not get there. The US refused to grant him a visa, believing that in the past he had links with organized crime since the so-called aluminum wars in the 1990s, when the struggle for control over assets in the aluminum industry was fought.

Deripaska regularly denied the existence of such ties, and in order to convince the US authorities, he hired large lobbying firms and former senator Bob Dole, writes The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). During George W. Bush's presidency, a former high-ranking US official told the newspaper, Vladimir "Putin and his foreign minister often raised the issue of a visa [for Deripaska] in talks with Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice" (the minister's name is not named, but in the period finding Rice in this position was Sergei Lavrov). "There was a closer relationship than it seemed," the official said.

"On April 6, Deripaska's ties with Putin became his main liability," writes WSJ. The US Treasury Department, reporting on the introduction of sanctions in response to "malicious activities of Russia" sanctions against Kremlin businessmen close to the Kremlin, recalled Deripaska's words that he does not separate himself from the state. (His statement to the Financial Times in 2007 was as follows: "If the state says that we should refuse [Rusal], we will refuse, I do not separate myself from the state, I have no other interests.") Deripaska "admitted that he has a Russian diplomatic passport, and claims that he represents the interests of the Russian government in other countries," the US Treasury said in a statement. It also notes the existence of allegations of "links with the Russian organized criminal group".

In 2005, Deripaska was given a multiple visa in the United States; for his help in obtaining it, he paid $ 560,000 to the law firm of former Republican senator Bob Dole, the WSJ reported in 2007. At the same time the newspaper wrote that in mid-2006 the State Department revoked the entry permit: US officials and other people familiar with the situation , explained this by the fact that the US Justice Department doubted the veracity of the testimony that Deripaska gave about his past activities during a meeting with FBI investigators.

Again, to obtain a visa Deripaska succeeded in 2009, writes now WSJ, after he promised the US to provide information about the former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who disappeared in Iran in 2007. According to a person familiar with the situation, this information was not Deripaska has provided.

In 2009, he traveled twice to the US and met with financiers, including Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of the investment bank Goldman Sachs, as well as with top managers of General Motors in Detroit, told WSJ people who know about these meetings. Such meetings, however, violated the agreement between Deripaska and the US Department of Justice, US officials say, so he again lost his visa. The press service of Deripaska did not respond to a request for his visas, reports WSJ.