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Russian oligarch Deripaska loses U.S. court battle to lift sanctions

March 29 (Reuters) — A U.S. appeals court in Washington on Tuesday reject­ed a bid by Russian alu­minum tycoon Oleg Deripaska to lift sanc­tions imposed on him by the United States in 2018, find­ing that American offi­cials had suf­fi­cient evi­dence to back up their action.

A three-judge pan­el of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled against Deripaska’s appeal of a fed­er­al judge’s rul­ing last year dis­miss­ing the oli­garch’s law­suit chal­leng­ing the sanc­tions. U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta had ruled that Deripaska’s numer­ous claims in the law­suit lacked merit.

The U.S. gov­ern­ment imposed the sanc­tions against Deripaska and oth­er influ­en­tial Russians with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin in response to Russia’s 2014 annex­a­tion of Ukraine’s Crimea region — an action the United States does not rec­og­nize — and oth­er “world­wide malign activity.”

Deripaska is not among the Russians who have faced sanc­tions relat­ing to Russia’s inva­sion last month of Ukraine.

The U.S. Treasury Department, in pur­su­ing the sanc­tions against Deripaska, accused him of act­ing on behalf of a senior Russian gov­ern­ment official.

Deripaska, in his law­suit, had claimed that the U.S. sanc­tions against him were arbi­trary, an argu­ment reject­ed by the D.C. Circuit.

In short, there is no evi­dence that the gov­ern­ment act­ed for rea­sons oth­er than those it pro­vid­ed, much less that its stat­ed rea­sons were con­trived,” the court wrote in Tuesday’s decision.

Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska attends a ses­sion of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Saint Petersburg, Russia, June 3, 2021. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

The D.C. Circuit also con­clud­ed that the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control “had suf­fi­cient evi­dence for sanc­tions” against Deripaska.

A lawyer for Deripaska did not imme­di­ate­ly respond to a request for comment.

Deripaska once employed Paul Manafort, who served as for­mer President Donald Trump’s 2016 cam­paign chair­man and was con­vict­ed in 2018 on tax eva­sion and bank fraud charges. Trump par­doned Manafort in 2020. A Republican-led Senate com­mit­tee said in a 2020 report that Manafort col­lab­o­rat­ed with Russians includ­ing Deripaska through­out the course of the 2016 U.S. pres­i­den­tial election.

Deripaska owns part of alu­minum giant Rusal (RUAL.MM) through a stake in its par­ent com­pa­ny En+ Group (ENPLI.RTS). The United States dropped sanc­tions against those com­pa­nies in 2019 dur­ing Trump’s presidency.

The FBI last year raid­ed Deripaska’s homes in New York and Washington, giv­ing no expla­na­tion for the search­es at the time.

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