Deripaska sues Trump admin over Russia sanctions

Deripaska sues Trump admin over Russia sanctions
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Influential Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska is suing the Treasury Department, asking a federal court to lift sanctions against him that were imposed by the Trump administration.

Deripaska filed a complaint in federal court in Washington, D.C., Friday, accusing the Treasury Department and Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: House Dem says marijuana banking bill will get vote in spring | Buttigieg joins striking Stop & Shop workers | US home construction slips in March | Uber gets B investment for self-driving cars Former Sears holding company sues ex-CEO, Mnuchin and others over 'asset stripping' On The Money: Inside the Mueller report | Cain undeterred in push for Fed seat | Analysis finds modest boost to economy from new NAFTA | White House says deal will give auto sector B boost MORE of acting “beyond the bounds of their authority” in imposing sanctions on him under a law meant to punish Russia for interfering in the 2016 presidential election.

Deripaska was placed on a list of prominent Russian oligarchs and officials with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin who were sanctioned in April 2018. He was also subject to sanctions for operating in the energy sector of Russia’s economy.

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The complaint filed Friday argues that Deripaska became a “victim of this country’s political infighting and ongoing reaction to Russia’s purported interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.” The complaint names Treasury and Mnuchin, as well as Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, and its director, Andrea Gacki.

“This case seeks the Court’s intervention to enjoin OFAC from using the devastating power of U.S. economic sanctions without adhering to the bounds of its legal authority and in a manner that is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution,” the complaint states.  

Deripaska argues that the sanctions constitute an arbitrary and capricious action and violates the Administrative Procedure Act.

“By sanctioning Deripaska and including him in an arbitrarily contrived list of ‘oligarchs,’ " the complaint says, the defendants have acted without regard for their obligations under U.S. law “and beyond the bounds of their authority." 

Deripaska argues that OFAC did not provide facts or reasoning to support its designation of him on the list and that they instead relied on “rumor and innuendo.”

A Treasury Department spokesperson told The Hill that the department "does not generally comment on pending litigation" and referred inquiries to the Department of Justice. The Justice Department declined to comment. 

The complaint states that the sanctions have adversely affected Deripaska’s financial livelihood, asserting that his net worth has fallen more than $7.5 billion since last spring and noting he has been “forced” out of controlling interests in his businesses, including aluminum and power company En+ Group.

“The effect of these unlawful actions has been the wholesale devastation of Deripaska’s wealth, reputation, and economic livelihood,” the complaint states.

The Trump administration also announced last spring plans to sanction companies linked to Deripaska, including En+Group, United Co. Rusal and JSC EuroSibEnergo.

However, the administration reached an agreement to lift those sanctions late last year after Deripaska reduced his ownership stake in them to below 50 percent and the companies reorganized. That move has been subject to scrutiny from congressional Democrats.

—Updated at 2:51 p.m.