WASHINGTON – Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with close ties to the Kremlin, sued the United States government on Friday, demanding the lift sanctions that have claimed him billions of dollars, made him "radioactive" in international business Circles and Exposure to Criminal Investigation and Asset Confiscation in Russia
In a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court in Washington, Mr. Deripaska said that the sanctions, leveled in April by the Treasury Department, should be down because they deprived him of due process and relied on trial smears that fell outside the sanctions program.
Deripaska, the giant aluminum company he controlled, Rusal, as well as the holding company that owns it, EN +, and another company it controls.
Deripas companies – but not Mr. Deripaska – last year by the Treasury Department.
Yet Mr. Deripaska argued in Friday's lawsuit that he did not think he could get a fair shake from the same appeals process because of "overt bias" demonstrated against the oligarch by Mr. Mnuchin and his department. The lawsuit was filed against the secretary, the Treasury Department, its Office of Foreign Assets Control and Andrea M. Gacki, the director of that office.
A Treasury Department spokesman said that the agency "does not generally comment on pending litigation. ”
Sanctions experts gave the lawsuit low odds of success.
Such a suit gets to the presidential authority that usually isn't able to be challenged like that,” said Brian O'Toole, who served during the Obama administration as a senior adviser to the Office of Foreign Assets Control. "Gonna be a lot of lawyers," he wrote on Twitter .
The lawsuit came as Democrats continued demanding information from Mr. Mnuchin and the Treasury Department about the deal under which Mr. Deripaska's companies were removed from sanctions.
The deal was billed by Treasury as penalizing Mr. Deripaska by separating him from the companies, while allowing the companies – which play an important role in global aluminum markets – to survive.
But a binding confidential document signed by both sides revealed that the deal would leave Mr. Deripaska and his allies with majority ownership of EN +. The agreement would transfer 1.64 percent of the shares of the company, valued at about $ 100 million, to an entity called the Liberi Foundation, which company officials said is a trust for Mr. Deripaska's children
At a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Thursday, Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, questioned Mr. Mnuchin about the transfer of shares to the trust.
Deripaska's children are benefiting from a sanction effort meant to punish him, "Mr. "Keystone Kops-level sanction enforcement."
"I can assure you that it was a keystone effort," he said, explaining that it was a secretary of the Office of Foreign Assets. Deripaska.
Mr. Mnuchin said he would follow up with Mr. Next week with more information about the transfer of shares to the trust fund for Mr. Deripaska's children.
The Treasury Department spokesman on Friday evening said that the agency "has been fully transparent" about the transfer to the Liberi Foundation, noting that it was listed in the confidential document that was provided to Congress. But the document did not specify that the organization was a trust fund for Mr. Deripaska's children – and that information was not publicly available.
On Friday, Mr. Mnuchin announced sanctions against six Russian officials and eight entities related to "Russia's continued and ongoing aggression in Ukraine," including its seizure of Ukrainian naval vessels in a shared waterway late last year.
Defenders of the Trump administration's approach to Russia sanctions pointed to Mr. Deripaska's lawsuit as evidence that the Treasury Department has not gone easy on the oligarch.
The lawsuit claims that the effect of the sanctions "has been the wholesale devastation of Deripaska's wealth, reputation and economic livelihood." That includes reducing his net worth at more than $ 7.5 billion – or approximately 81 percent – while pushing his remaining businesses "to the brink of collapse," the lawsuit said.
The Treasury Department justified the sanctions partly by citing accusations against Mr. Deripaska or Bribery, links to organized crime and even murder. But Mr. Deripaska's lawyers described as "nothing more than false rumor and innuendo and originate from decades-old defamatory attacks originated by his business competitors," and "completely untethered" from the claims of aiding Russia's malignant activities.
The Treasury Department, Mr. Deripaska contended, did not try to link him to "the interference of democratic processes, nor has Deripaska been charged anywhere in the world for doing so."