MOSCOW, November 30. /TASS/. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) may seek compensation damage caused by "misleading reports" in several American media, which said that the US sanctions regime might have been violated during alleged meetings of the Russian fund’s representatives meeting with US officials and businessmen, the Russian fund said in a statement on Thursday.
US-based web publication The Intercept claimed in an article published on November 28 that RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev met with the founder of US security firm Blackwater Erik Prince in the Seychelles on January 11, after the US presidential elections and days before President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
The Intercept, citing a Washington Post article, claimed that the purpose of this meeting, "brokered by Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi", was to "establish a backchannel between the president-elect and Putin."
"RDIF reserves all rights to protect its legitimate interests and be compensated for any harm caused by misleading statements," the fund said in a statement. It added that "co-investments and meetings with RDIF are not restricted and are not subject to US sanctions or any other restrictions. RDIF is not engaged in any political activities. The fund operates purely on a commercial basis, providing our co-investors with attractive and stable returns".
"The fund always operates in full compliance with relevant regulations and legislation and its operations do not violate sanctions," the statement goes on to say.
US sanctions, imposed on Russia following the events in Ukraine in 2014, ban US companies and banks from providing long-term financing to select Russian firms, including development bank VEB (Vneshekonombank).
"RDIF is not a subsidiary or part of Vnesheconombank and its operations are wholly independent of the bank," the fund said in a statement.
Soon after the 2016 US presidential election, President Trump's administration became a target of an intense media campaign and allegations over its contacts with Russian officials and businessmen during or after the election campaign. Eric Prince is due to testify on November 30 before the House Intelligence Committee on his Russian contacts.
"US investors continue to invest in Russia, including co-investing with RDIF. We believe that a constructive dialogue between the US and Russia is absolutely vital for economic and political stability and addressing key world issues," the fund said.
After a notice from RDIF, popular MSNBC television host Rachel Maddow in her program corrected her previous statement made a day earlier that US citizens cannot do business with RDIF, now saying that it may be possible under certain circumstances.
Earlier this year after a similar complaint from RDIF, CNN removed an article from its website implying that US financier Anthony Scaramucci had indicated to Dmitriev during their meeting at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos that US sanctions could be eased.
CNN also fired its staff directly responsible for the publication, reorganized its investigations team and tightened rules concerning publications about alleged Trump administration’s links with Russia.