Russian Billionaire Deripaska Sues US Treasury, Steven Mnuchin

Russian billionaire oligarch Oleg Deripaska - an ally of president Vladimir Putin - sued the Treasury Department and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, seeking a U.S. court order lifting sanctions against him.

In his lawsuit filed on Friday, Deripaska claimed he was “the latest victim” of “political infighting and ongoing reaction to Russia’s purported interference” with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. He also accused the Treasury of unfairly and illegally targeted him, which resulted in his net worth dropping by $7.5 billion due to the sanctions.

The sanctions have resulted in “the utter devastation of Deripaska’s wealth, reputation and economic livelihood,’’ according to the complaint, filed in a Washington federal court. “Deripaska has been effectively shut out from the international business community and the global financial system.’’

As Bloomberg first reported, the Treasury Department’s actions were arbitrary and capricious, Deripaska claims, and violated the Administrative Procedures Act. He asked the court to intervene, seeking an order to bar the agency from referring to him as an oligarch. He also asked the court to order his removal from executive orders imposing the sanctions and the so-called Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List administered by OFAC.

“His investments have become toxic, and defendants have caused his former companies to separate from him through the irrevocable divestiture of his interests and severance of his control,’’ according to the complaint.

Deripaska, one of Russia's richest men, and founder of En+ Group and United Co. Rusal, was among the most prominent tycoons penalized with sanctions by President Donald Trump’s administration. The move followed passage of a law to retaliate against Moscow for meddling in the election. With Trump scrambling to deflect attention from allegations that he was a puppet of the Russian regime, in April 2018 the Treasury slapped sanctions on Deripaska and six other Russian oligarchs in response to the Kremlin’s “malign activity around the globe.”

While the U.S. lifted sanctions on three firms tied to Deripaska in January, he remained personally under U.S. sanctions, with his property blocked.

The The case is Deripaska v. Mnuchin, 19-cv-727, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia