Russian tycoon sues AP over Manafort story

Russian tycoon sues AP over Manafort story
© Greg Nash

A Russian tycoon Monday filed a libel lawsuit against The Associated Press over a story detailing his business dealings with President Trump's former campaign manager Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump turns to immigration; primary day delays expected GOP votes to give Graham broad subpoena power in Obama-era probe Will the 'law and order' president pardon Roger Stone? MOREPolitico reported.

The suit filed by aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska alleges that the AP knowingly published false information implying that Deripaska had "engaged in criminal conduct" by paying Manafort to act as an unregistered foreign agent and that he hired him for work to benefit the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The AP's report details how in 2005, Manafort sent Deripaska a proposal offering to influence politics, news coverage and business in the U.S. and Europe to "'greatly benefit the Putin government.'"

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"The AP had (and has) no basis for reporting that any contract between Mr. Deripaska and Mr. Manafort provided for the undermining of democratic movements." the lawsuit reads.

Manafort is among several former Trump aides with alleged ties to Russian officials and businesses. The Senate and House intelligence committees are investigating Moscow's efforts to influence the election, as well as the Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

The FBI is conducting its own separate probe into the matter.

The AP told Politico that it planned to fight Deripaska's suit, and that it was ultimately standing by the story. 

"The Associated Press stands by its story," AP General Counsel Karen Kaiser said in a statement. "We will defend the lawsuit vigorously."