The indictment of Oleg Deripaska is the latest in a string of judicial decisions which lead back to Putin’s interference in US elections, reports Heidi Siegmund-Cuda

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Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch who made his fortune in aluminium, has been indicted by the US Justice Department for criminal sanctions violations.

The announcement follows a series of interventions by the US Government which include banning his entry into the country due to alleged ties with organised crime, investigating him for various offences including money laundering, extortion, racketeering, threatening rivals’ lives, and illegally wiretapping a Government official; and searching his homes in New York and Washington D.C.

Deripaska featured prominently in the Mueller Report due to his relationship with Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort. He was sanctioned by the US in 2018 in response to Russian interference in the 2016 election and its occupation of Crimea, following the 2014 invasion. 

Three women have been indicted alongside Deripaska, including his alleged girlfriend Ekaterina Olegovna Voronina, as well as Natalia Bardakova and Olga Shriki. Shriki, a US citizen and New Jersey resident, was arrested on Thursday, according to the Justice Department.

Deripaska was sanctioned by the UK Government in retaliation for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which he publicly condemned. 


‘The American Way of Life’

Thursday’s indictment revealed numerous alleged crimes by Derispaska, a favoured associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

The allegations included details of lavish schemes designed to ensure his girlfriend could give birth to their children in the United States in order to gain citizenship. One child is now a US citizen, but a costly attempt to pull the same scheme in 2022 failed, according to court documents.

“As today’s charges reveal, while serving the Russian state and energy sector, Oleg Deripaska sought to circumvent US sanctions through lies and deceit to cash in on and benefit from the American way of life,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.

United States Attorney Merrick Garland, at the centre of Donald Trump’s criminal probe, explained how “In the wake of Russia’s unjust and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, I promised the American people that the DOJ would hold accountable those who break our laws and threaten national security… we are keeping that promise. The Justice Department will not stop working to identify, find, and bring to justice those who evade U.S. sanctions in order to enable the Russian regime”.

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A Shady History

Deripaska has a long history of ties to the Republican Party.

Having been denied a visa to enter the US in the mid-2000s, he turned to former Senator turned lobbyist Bob Dole and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to launder his image. Dole, who died last year, has been accused of promoting a culture of sleazy lobbying that continues to plague US politics. 

Both Dole and Deripaska have ties to Paul Manafort, the man who would later become Trump’s unpaid campaign manager. 

Manafort took millions of dollars from Deripaska in the mid-2000s to promote pro-Russian interests. Later, he received $12.7 million from the pro-Russian party of Ukraine’s former President, Viktor Yanukovych.

The Mueller report found Manafort used his time on the Trump campaign to offer information to his former employer, in order “to get whole”. The Report indicated how Manafort directed associates to reach out to Deripaska, offering him briefings and internal campaign polling data. According to Mueller, Manafort owed Deripaska millions of dollars in unpaid debts. Deripaska has denied he received any polling data. 

Manafort later went to prison for money laundering, tax fraud and illegal foreign lobbying connected to his years working for Ukrainian politicians, as well as for conspiracy against the United States.

The former governor of Donetsk Oblast, Yanukovych is the man some argue Putin wants to put back into power in Ukraine. He fled to Russia following the Euromaidan revolution and was found guilty of treason by a Ukrainian court in 2019.

The close ties between Deripaska, Manafort and pro-Putin politicians in Ukraine puts the country once again at the centre of a scandal about Russian interference, aggression, and sanctions. 

The TV Exec, the Oligarch and the Global Far-Right

Sian Norris and Heidi Siegmund Cuda

Retired Internal Revenue Service criminal investigator Martin Sheil told Byline Times how “various connected American politicians including the powerful then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell worked to mitigate that original round of sanctions on Deripaska”.

“Not long after, Deripaska’s main corporate Russian money maker Rusal invested in an aluminium plant located in McConnell’s home state of Kentucky,” Sheil explained. “The folks in Kentucky were just happy to have more job creation, I am sure, and the idea of a quid for a quo might be a tad sophisticated for folks in Bourbon country, but the idea of payback might be simple enough to understand. Yet nothing came of it”.

Sheil argued that the time to act on indicting the boss-level players in the Trump/Russia interference scandal is now.

“Should the Republicans win back the Senate and the House in November then that oversight will be buried [and] nothing will come of the House 6 January Insurrection investigation,” Sheil told Byline Times

“The House will roll back Biden’s historic legislation fully funding the IRS to audit and investigate the multi-millionaires who fund the Republican Party, who work so closely with the banks and the Russians and anyone else that protects their wealth and power,” he added.

Byline Times reached out to Deripaska for comment, however we received no response.

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