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Deripaska Says Raid of His Ex-Company Was About U.S. Politics

Yuliya Fedorinova and Jonathan Browning

(Bloomberg) -- Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska says that U.S. prosecutors’ efforts to gain access to records seized from a U.K. company associated with him are motivated by American political “infighting.”

British authorities raided a storage unit last December owned by Terra Services Ltd., a real estate firm that until last year was controlled by Deripaska, as part of a possible offshoot of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian election interference. The aluminum magnate’s business dealings with convicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort were a subject of Mueller’s inquiry.

Terra Services is challenging the lawfulness of the search warrant, which seized at least 25,000 electronic documents, and has asked a London judge to prevent the documents from being handed over to the Americans.

“The Terra raid that happened around a year ago and the recent publicity in relation to it is yet another hopeless attempt to drag me into never-ending U.S. political infighting,” Deripaska said in a written statement on Monday. “Washington bureaucrats are desperate to link me to Manafort, who I haven’t dealt with for years as I have repeatedly stated. They are chasing a ghost.”

READ: Deripaska-Linked Firm Was Raided for Undisclosed U.S. Probe

U.S. authorities are seeking evidence of “money laundering, tax offenses and fraud offenses” from 18 individuals and companies including Terra Services, Bloomberg News reported last Friday, citing documents filed in a London court.

Deripaska handed control of Terra Services in January 2018 to an individual named Pavel Ezubov, whose name matches that of the billionaire’s cousin, Russian media group RBC reported last year. The firm owns several properties in San Tropez and Paris, RBC said. It has just six employees, according to a U.K. corporate registry.

To contact the reporters on this story: Yuliya Fedorinova in Moscow at yfedorinova@bloomberg.net;Jonathan Browning in London at jbrowning9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lynn Thomasson at lthomasson@bloomberg.net, David S. Joachim, Christopher Elser

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