Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska said in response to U.S. allegations against him that his relations with Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's one-time campaign manager, ended "seven or eight years ago."
The Russian businessman, an associate of President Vladimir Putin, on Friday filed suit against the U.S. Treasury Department in an attempt to get rid of sanctions placed on him last year as part of Washington's response to Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 elections.
In an exclusive interview with CNBC's Geoff Cutmore in Moscow, Deripaska called U.S. allegations against him "very absurd" and claimed that his name and brand were used since he is "successful."
"Yes they used my brand. I am successful, from Russia. I know a lot of people. Channels like you are interested in my opinion on politics, economy. They branded me," Deripaska said.
Court filings have revealed that Manafort was deeply indebted to the Russian billionaire, whom the U.S. put on a list of "Designated Russian Oligarchs" last April.
Manafort reportedly used his position in the Trump campaign to try and resolve his debt problems with Deripaska, offering him "private briefings" about the progress of the campaign, according to 2016 emails shared with investigators.
Deripaska denies that he ever received such an offer from Manafort.
He told CNBC Sunday that now he is waiting to hear how the U.S. will respond, saying "Justice Department will present facts, and I hope they will not hide behind national interests."
Deripaska sued Manafort in early 2018, claiming Manafort and his lobbying firm partner Richard Gates "vanished more than $18.9 million" of his investments in the late 2000s.
Deripaska claims the American lobbyists failed to explain to him what happened to the money and lied about the status of the investments. Deripaska is seeking $25 million in "compensatory damages" and "punitive damages" via a New York state court. Manafort's representatives at the time insisted they believed the matter had already been settled.
A court filing unsealed in June of last year revealed that Deripaska loaned Manafort $10 million, though the timing of the loan is unclear. Financial documents uncovered by the FBI found that Deripaska helped fund Manafort's consulting work in Ukraine, which began in 2005.
"All relations were over like seven or eight years ago, maybe more. No relations after 2011 — I checked," Deripaska said.
"The only interest my lawyers had was to find him and tried to file and recover this money, which was probably taken as a credit and never returned or this investment that never happened. And it is a big amount of money."
Manafort spent years advising and lobbying for ousted Ukrainian president and Kremlin ally Viktor Yanukovych.
By the time he joined the Trump campaign, Deripaska's lawyers say that Manafort owed Deripaska nearly $20 million.
Last week, Manafort received the final part of what amounts to a seven-and-a-half year prison sentence for a raft of charges including tax and bank fraud, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, lying to prosecutors, and failure to register as a foreign agent.
Read Deripaska's complaint against the U.S. Treasury below: