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Businessman Deripaska calls FT article about him "portion of lies"

Earlier in the day, FT wrote the US believes that Deripaska laundered money for President Vladimir Putin

MOSCOW, February 14. /TASS/. Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska called the recent article about him published by the Financial Times (FT) "a portion of lies."

On Friday, FT wrote the U.S. believes that Deripaska laundered money for President Vladimir Putin. According to the publication, that was the reason why Washington imposed sanctions against the businessman. The newspaper referred to a U.S. Treasury letter to Deripaska’s lawyers explaining the sanctions.

"Another portion of lies," the businessman wrote on his channel in the Telegram messenger and attached a link to the article in the British newspaper.

Later, on Friday, the businessman added an ironic comment on the FT publication about his alleged investments made on behalf of the Russian President.

"What money? He didn’t entrust me with a pen for 10 minutes," Deripaska wrote on his Telegram channel.

The businessman, obviously, recalled the meeting in the town of Pikalevo in 2009, when Vladimir Putin, who was then Prime Minister, put a pen on the table and ordered Deripaska to sign an agreement with PhosAgro on the supply of raw materials to the Pikalevo plant, which made it possible to protect the rights of workers. When Deripaska, having signed the document, headed for his place, Putin stopped him with the words: "Give me the pen back!"

The FT article also contained the words of Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who rejected the assumption that any money laundering took place or that Deripaska made investments following orders from Vladimir Putin. "That's not true. That's all," Peskov said.

Sanctions and lawsuit

In April 2018, the US Treasury Department introduced sanctions against Oleg Deripaska and companies controlled by him. Sanctions covered Rusal, Basic Element, En+, Russian Machines, EuroSibEnergo, GAZ Group, B-Finance and Kuban agricultural holding.

On January 27, 2019 Washington time (January 28 Moscow time), the US Department of Treasury announced the removal of sanctions against Rusal, En + and EuroSibEnergo. However, it cost Deripaska control in his enterprises: in particular, his share in the En+ holding decreased from 70% to 44.95%, while in Rusal he directly owns only 0.01% of shares and is not entitled to receive dividends. The restrictions against the co-owner of those companies, Oleg Deripaska, remain in force.

In March 2019, Deripaska filed a lawsuit with the US Treasury in the federal court of Washington. He called sanctions introduced against him in April 2018 as unfair and illegal and notes that his wealth contracted by more than $7.5 bln due to sanctions in the complaint.

In September 2019, Deripaska filed a lawsuit in the Arbitration Court of Russia’s Krasnodar region against The Nation, The Telegraph and The Times newspapers due to the fact that the articles in these publications had triggered personal sanctions against him in 2018.

On October 25, 2019, the Arbitration court of Russia’s Krasnodar region upheld the lawsuit of Deripaska against the Western media and stated that the publications did not correspond to reality.

In January, in an interview with Bloomberg, Deripaska said he expects the US court to announce its decision on his lawsuit against the US Treasury this year and hopes that the sanctions against him will be lifted.