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Businessman Oleg Deripaska, who is known as an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is suing the U.S. Treasury Department to lift sanctions imposed on him, a court filing revealed Friday.
Deripaska's lawsuit demands that his name be removed from a list of sanctioned individuals, and that the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, cancel their decision to label him an "oligarch" and disclose records related to him.
He claims that his net worth has fallen by more than $7.5 billion, or about 81 percent, since the sanctions on him were imposed.
The legal complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., names Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and OFAC Director Andrea Gacki as defendants.
Deripaska is described in the court filing as a "victim of this country's political infighting and ongoing reaction to Russia's purported interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections."
Deripaska was added by OFAC on April 6, 2018, to a list of "Designated Russian Oligarchs" for allegedly acting on behalf of "a senior official of the Government of the Russian Federation," and for his operation in the Russian energy sector.
"Deripaska has been investigated for money laundering, and has been accused of threatening the lives of business rivals, illegally wiretapping a government official, and taking part in extortion and racketeering," said a Treasury press release at the time. "There are also allegations that Deripaska bribed a government official, ordered the murder of a businessman, and had links to a Russian organized crime group."
The Treasury also sanctioned businesses in which Deripaska owns stakes, including aluminum giant Rusal and En+. But the Trump administration lifted sanctions on those companies in January over Democrats' objections. Deripaska's personal designation under those sanctions remained, however.
Later Friday, Deripaska said in an Instagram post that he was filing the suit "to clear my name and remove the sanctions that have been arbitrarily imposed on me for political reasons." He challenged OFAC to produce any evidence it has "to back up the unfounded rumours and innuendo it likes cite."
A Treasury Department spokesperson declined to comment on the pending litigation.
Deripaska said the U.S. government's designation of him is "arbitrary, capricious," and an "abuse of discretion" that has been ruinous for him financially.
"The consequence of Defendants' unlawful action has been the utter devastation of Deripaska's wealth, reputation, and economic livelihood," his lawsuit claims.
"Deripaska has been effectively shut out from the international business community and the global financial system," according to the court filing. "Indeed, banks and businesses have terminated existing contracts and agreements with him, and businesses refuse to enter into any further dealings with him out of fear of exposure to U.S. sanctions."
Read Deripaska's legal complaint below: