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- Wealthy Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his associate, Rick Gates, alleging that they defrauded Deripaska’s company.
- The lawsuit relied, in part, on details included in special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment against the two men.
- Manafort came under renewed scrutiny last year after The Atlantic published emails that appeared to show him using his elevated role in the Trump campaign to resolve the dispute with Deripaska.
Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska filed a lawsuit Wednesday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, alleging that Manafort and his associate, Rick Gates, “vanished” $18.9 million that Deripaska’s company gave to them to invest in a failed Ukrainian TV venture, called the “Black Sea Cable,” in 2008.
The complaint was filed in a New York state court and is not the first time Deripaska has sued Manafort. His representatives also made similar claims in legal complaints filed in the Cayman Islands in 2014 and Virginia in 2015.
Per the lawsuit, Deripaska’s company, Surf Horizon Ltd., gave Manafort and Gates nearly $19 million to purchase Black Sea Cable. As the economy dipped into a recession in the late 2000s, Surf recommended that Manafort and Gates sell Black Sea Cable, which they agreed to.
However, the complaint said, Manafort and Gates “took no steps to find a buyer for Black Sea Cable.” After Surf repeatedly asked about the status of the investment, Gates said in an email that “efforts to sell Black Sea Cable were still underway.”
Later, Deripaska learned that Surf did not own Black Sea Cable through the joint venture with Manafort and Gates, and “Surf had no knowledge that Black Sea Cable had been sold or transferred to another party.”
The lawsuit relied, in part, on allegations that were outlined in special counsel Robert Mueller’s office’s indictment against Manafort and Gates, which was unsealed in late October.
Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty to 12 counts including money laundering, tax fraud, failure to register as foreign agents, and conspiracy against the US.
The indictment, Deripaska’s lawsuit said, “provides detail regarding movement of funds from bank accounts in Cyprus to accounts in the United States controlled by Manafort and Gates.”
“The dealings of Manafort and Gates with Surf mirror the pattern of corporate dealings alleged in the indictment,” it continued.
Deripaska’s company is seeking over $25 million in damages.
Last October, The Atlantic published several emails that appeared to show Manafort using his elevated role in the Trump campaign to resolve the dispute with Deripaska.
Manafort reportedly wrote an email to his associate, Russian-Ukrainian operative Konstantin Kilimnik, offering to give Deripaska “private briefings” about the campaign.
“I assume you have shown our friends my media coverage, right?” Manafort reportedly wrote to Kilimnik, who has suspected ties to Russian intelligence.
“Absolutely,” replied Kilimnik. “Every article.”
“How do we use to get whole,” Manafort responded. “Has OVD operation seen?”
Former intelligence officials told Business Insider last year that Manafort was likely trying to repay his debt to Deripaska. Investigators have concluded that “OVD” was a reference to his full name: Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska.
Kilimnik reportedly told Manafort in a later email that he had been “sending everything to Victor, who has been forwarding the coverage directly to OVD.” Victor was a senior aide to Deripaska, according to The Atlantic.
Deripaska and Manafort worked together in 2006 as well, when Deripaska signed a $10 million annual contract with Manafort for a lobbying project in the US that Manafort said would “greatly benefit the [Vladimir] Putin Government.”