Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a close associate of Vladimir Putin, has gone on record with The Hill’s John Solomon – admitting to colluding with Americans leading up to the 2016 US election, except it might not be what you’re thinking.
Deripaska, rumored to be Donald Trump’s “back channel” to Putin via the Russian’s former association with Paul Manafort, says he “colluded” with the US Government between 2009 and 2016.
In 2009, when Robert Mueller was running the FBI, the agency asked Deripaska to spend $25 million of his own money to bankroll an FBI-supervised operation to rescue a retired FBI agent – Robert Levinson, who was kidnapped in 2007 while working on a 2007 CIA contract in Iran. This in and of itself is more than a bit strange.
Deripaska agreed, however the Obama State Department, headed by Hillary Clinton, scuttled a last-minute deal with Iran before Levinson could be released. He hasn’t been heard from since.
FBI agents courted Deripaska in 2009 in a series of secret hotel meetings in Paris; Vienna; Budapest, Hungary, and Washington. Agents persuaded the aluminum industry magnate to underwrite the mission. The Russian billionaire insisted the operation neither involve nor harm his homeland. -The Hill
In other words – Trump’s alleged “back channel” to Putin was in fact an FBI asset who spent $25 million helping Obama’s “scandal free” administration find a kidnapped agent. Deripaska’s admitted
Steele, Ohr and the 2016 US Election
As the New York Times frames it, distancing Deripaska from the FBI (no mention of the $25 million rescue effort, for example), the Russian aluminum magnate was just one of several Putin-linked Oligarchs the FBI tried to flip.
The attempt to flip Mr. Deripaska was part of a broader, clandestine American effort to gauge the possibility of gaining cooperation from roughly a half-dozen of Russia’s richest men, nearly all of whom, like Mr. Deripaska, depend on President Vladimir V. Putin to maintain their wealth, the officials said. –NYT
Central to the recruiting effort were two central players in the Trump-Russia investigation; twice-demoted DOJ #4 official Bruce Ohr and Christopher Steele – the author of the largely unverified “Steele Dossier.”
Steele, a longtime associate of Ohr’s, worked for Deripaska beginning in 2012 researching a business rival – work which would evolve to the point where the former British spy was interfacing with the Obama administration on his behalf – resulting in Deripaska regaining entry into the United States, where he visited numerous times between 2009 and 2017.
The State Department tried to keep him from getting a U.S. visa between 2006 and 2009 because they believed he had unspecified connections to criminal elements in Russia as he consolidated power in the aluminum industry. Deripaska has denied those allegations…
Whatever the case, it is irrefutable that after he began helping the FBI, Deripaska regained entry to the United States. And he visited numerous times between 2009 and 2017, visa entry records show. –The Hill
Deripaska is now banned from the United States as one of several Russians sanctioned in April in response to alleged 2016 election meddling.