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MOSCOW, March 23. /TASS/. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected information on Thursday about the Kremlin’s alleged involvement in organizing contacts between US President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.
"This has nothing to do with the Kremlin," Peskov told journalists. "The Kremlin does not know anything about this."
The Russian presidential spokesman said at the same time he knew about relevant statements made by Manafort and Deripaska.
"I don’t know about any contacts," the Kremlin spokesman said in response to a question about any contacts held between the Russian authorities and the ex-head of the US incumbent president’s election campaign.
The Associated Press reported earlier that Manafort "secretly worked for Russian billionaire" Oleg Deripaska more than 10 years ago to promote the interests of the Russian government and proposed an ambitious strategy "to undercut anti-Russian figures in former Soviet republics."
As the AP reported, such work "appears to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests."
Manafort confirmed in a statement for AP that he had worked for Deripaska in various countries but said this work was being unfairly cast as "inappropriate or nefarious" as part of a "smear campaign."
"I worked with Oleg Deripaska almost a decade ago representing him on business and personal matters in countries where he had investments," Manafort said. "My work for Mr. Deripaska did not involve representing Russia's political interests."
It also emerged earlier that the US Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russia’s alleged interference in the US election intended to summon Manafort for hearings.
Democratic Senator from Virginia and ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee Mark Warner said in an interview with the CNN on Tuesday the media’s assertions about Manafort’s involvement in corruption in Ukraine and his dealings with Russia were a cause for the committee’s concern.