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15 Mar, 2019 18:34

Russian businessman Deripaska sues US over ‘devastating power’ of sanctions

Russian businessman Deripaska sues US over ‘devastating power’ of sanctions

Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska has sued the US over sanctions, calling them unjust and illegal. The businessman portrayed himself as a victim of “political scheming” in the US and said his net worth shrunk by $7.5 billion.

The case against the US was filed at a US District Court in Washington by the businessman on Friday. The billionaire asked the court to block the US Treasury from using the “devastating power” of sanctions and force it to remove him from the sanctions and “oligarch” lists.

The businessman accused the US government of being biased against him and making allegations based on “false rumor and innuendo.” The sanction activities against him violate the US Constitution, he argued.

“I have spent 30 years of my life building companies that are major players in the global economy, and will not let that hard work – along with millions of jobs and individual livelihoods – be destroyed by political scheming,” Deripaska said in a written statement.

The case was filed shortly after the US lifted sanctions on several of his businesses, including aluminum giant Rusal, after the billionaire lowered his shareholding in them below 50 percent. The US administration was challenged by lawmakers, who, however, failed to get enough Republican support in the Senate and therefore were unable to block it.

Such events in Congress and the whole “political climate” are a certain indicator that Deripaska would not be able to challenge the sanctions simply during hearings in the Treasury, the lawsuit noted.

“The general hysteria surrounding Deripaska prevents him from having a meaningful opportunity to challenge his designations through the normal channels for doing so,” it reads.

While the sanctions against Deripaska's companies were lifted, personal ones remain in place. The businessman was slapped with restrictions early in 2018, when the Treasury issued the infamous ‘Kremlin list’ of “oligarchs” and politicians – including many in Russia's government – who were allegedly close to President Vladimir Putin and profited from that.

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