Donald Trump’s Russia scandal takes surreal new turn

Oleg Deripaska is a Russian oligarch. At his peak, he was worth more than $20 billion, but during the financial crisis and since, he is reportedly only worth approximately $3 billion. Deripaska is connected to Paul Manafort, who recently was sentenced twice in one week, then indicted by New York.

In April 2018, the United States imposed sanctions on Deripaska and more than twenty other Russian nationals, citing evidence that Deripaska “has been accused of threatening the lives of business rivals, illegally wiretapping a government official, and taking part in extortion and racketeering.” In January 2019, the United States Treasury, per instructions from Steve Mnuchin and Trump, removed sanctions against Deripaska’s companies, but the ones on him personally remained. Deripaska, not liking being addressed with constraints, has on Friday filed a lawsuit against Mnuchin and others.

Deripaska claims in his suit that the sanctions are devastating to him, claiming in one paragraph: “The consequence of Defendants’ unlawful action has been the utter devastation of Deripaska’s wealth, reputation, and economic livelihood. As a result of his designations and the sanctions risk to foreign parties dealing with him or his businesses, Deripaska has been effectively shut out from the international business community and the global financial system. Indeed, banks and businesses have terminated existing contracts and agreements with him, and businesses refuse to enter into any further dealings with him out of fear of exposure to U.S. sanctions.”

Funny, we have some Russians fighting jurisdiction, such as in the secret grand jury proceedings in Washington, D.C., while we now have a very bad hombre from Russia using that very same judicial system to try to get any remaining sanctions lifted.

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