A company controlled and funded by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska has sued former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates for more than $25 million in damages over a failed business deal, court records show.
Although Deripaska and the Americans have been in a long-running business dispute, the new suit uses Manafort and Gates’ recent indictment in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation against them — citing it as proof of their fraudulent practices.
Deripaska’s company says Manafort and Gates — who are charged with conspiracy and money laundering in the federal case — bilked his company by taking $1.1 million in capital and paying it to themselves.
In addition, the lawsuit alleges that Manafort and Gates made false statements in depositions about the companies and failed to produce documents.
The business agreement between Manafort and Deripaska goes back more than a decade, and the lawsuit is just the latest chapter in a nearly seven-year dispute.
Deripaska had been repeatedly denied a visa to enter the United States over his alleged ties to organized crime, current and former officials tell NBC News. However, several officials tell NBC News he now has been given diplomatic status by the Russian government, allowing him to enter the U.S. with immunity.
In a previous Cayman Islands court petition, a company controlled by Deripaska alleged it invested $18.9 million in 2008 in a firm in which Manafort had an interest, Pericles Emerging Markets, to acquire another company called Black Sea Cable.
The petition also alleged companies controlled by Deripaska paid $7.35 million toward management fees for Manafort and his partners. The court filing was seeking an accounting of the money.
Manafort has been questioned by Cayman Islands officials about the matter, his lawyer has said publicly.
Manafort previously stated in 2016 that the matter was closed. Now, it appears that Manafort faces a new legal challenge as to the whereabouts of the money.