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Russian fund says need for Russia-US dialogue stronger than attempts to limit contacts

June 23, 2017, 13:05 updated at: June 23, 2017, 16:11 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Earlier on Friday, CNN reported that the Senate intelligence committee was checking the details of the meeting between Scaramucci and Dmitriev

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© Alexandr Sherbak/TASS

MOSCOW, June 23. /TASS/. The need for a dialogue between Russia and the US will overcome efforts to restrict such dialogue through media pressure, a representative for the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) told TASS, commenting on CNN’s information about a meeting between the fund’s head Kirill Dmitriev and US financier Anthony Scaramucci.

Earlier on Friday, CNN reported, quoting a source in the democratic faction of the Congress’ upper house, that the Senate intelligence committee was checking the details of the meeting between Scaramucci and Dmitriev.

"The necessity for a dialogue between Russia and the USA is stronger than the attempts to restrict such dialogue through media pressure frequently based on misleading information and its misinterpretation," the fund’s representative said.

He stressed that the US investors continue investing in Russia, including in cooperation with the Russian Direct Investment Fund. "Co-investments and meetings with RDIF are not restricted and are not subject to US sanctions or any other restrictions," the source said.

Sanction bias

According to a CNN source, Scaramucci and Dmitriev met on January 16 at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Scaramucci was listed as a member of Donald Trump’s transition team, who was inaugurated as the US president on January 20.

The Senate committee is concerned about whether Scaramucci offered his interlocutor hope for a quick relief of the sanctions that were imposed by the US due to the Ukrainian crisis in 2014.

CNN states that the US financier had confirmed that this meeting had taken place in Switzerland and had been informal and fleeting. Dmitriev "came over to say hello in a restaurant, and I was cordial," Scaramucci said in a recent email to CNN. "There is nothing there."

CNN quoted the financier’s interview with Bloomberg the day after the meeting. "What I said to him last night, in my capacity inside the administration, I would certainly reach out to some people to help him. The idea was many months ago to have more outreach with Russia but also other countries, not just Russia. China, other countries," CNN quoted Scaramucci, who had talked with Dmitriev numerous times during the Davos forums, as saying.

The RDIF source said, however, "CNN’s report contains factual inaccuracies which we have pointed out to the journalist concerned and expect to be corrected, but no amendments have been made so far".

The source underlined that the RDIF is not part of Vnesheconombank, which has been under US sanctions since 2014, and its operations "are wholly independent" of the bank. "RDIF always operates in full compliance with relevant regulations and legislation and its operations do not violate sanctions".

Appointment plans

In January, 2017, the leading US mass media, including Washington Post and Bloomberg, reported that Trump planned to appoint Scaramucci, who used to work in the Goldman Sachs investment bank, as the White House liaison to the business community. The financier agreed to this position, according to mass media reports. This appointment does not require to be confirmed by lawmakers.

As The New York Times reported, quoting administration sources, Scaramucci was finally informed that he would not get the job as liaison to the business community. According to the newspaper, Scaramucci was also informed that they planned to find him another role in the administration, but did not specify which one.

Scaramucci joined the Trump team in the summer of 2016 and helped him to raise money for his election campaign. Before that time, the financier supported other republicans who fought for the presidential post: first Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker, then ex-Governor of Florida Jeb Bush.

Scaramucci’s statements in Davos

As TASS earlier reported from Davos, Scaramucci said at the forum that the anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the Barack Obama administration, just like Moscow’s retaliation, were not the best solution, so Russia and the US should start negotiations to work out an alternative solution. The financier noted that the sanctions had the reverse effect and rather consolidated the Russian people around their president.

"I think the sanctions had in some ways an opposite effect because of Russian culture. I think the Russians would eat snow if they had to. And so for me the sanctions probably galvanized the nation with the nation’s president," Scaramucci said then.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund was founded in 2011 and makes direct investments into Russian companies together with the world’s leading investors.

The FBI and the Congress special intelligence committees are investigating into the attempts of the US election meddling. Trump and his key advisors rejected suspicions of any illegal contacts with Russian official during the last year’s election campaign. Moscow also denied the accusations of attempted US election meddling.

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