This Russian Oligarch Billionaire’s Name Keeps Embarrassing The Feds

( Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the former owner of the largest aluminum producer in the nation, Rusal, has been courted over the years by a prominent Democrat senator seeking legal advice and FBI agents looking for information on Donald Trump have also cozied up to him.

The U.S. administration was portraying Deripaska as a potentially dishonest actor who should be kept away from U.S. borders while attempts were made to court, woo, and profit from him.

This unpleasant truth was brought to light by the shocking charges this week that claimed a former top FBI counterintelligence agent had an improper financial connection with Deripaska:

Early in the new millennium, the State Department made the unsubstantiated claim that the Russian was involved in organized crime. He became the center of the FBI’s 2016 investigation into the false claim that Donald Trump had conspired with Russia to rig the election. And in 2018, the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on him for supporting Putin and Russian influence operations, and the Justice Department subsequently announced an indictment against him.

Over the last 20 years, Washington’s elites have both vilified and embraced the contentious Russian billionaire. Even Hunter Biden once devised a scheme to profit from Deripaska by asking for a hefty $80,000 charge to gather information on the Russian businessman for an American aluminum firm.

Deripaska has always insisted on his innocence throughout the ordeal, and his accusers have asked for his assistance while also demonizing him.

On Monday, Deripaska made headlines when the Justice Department said it had charged former FBI Special Agent Charles McGonigal with taking payment from Deripaska and performing services for him in violation of American sanctions against Russia.

The indictment immediately sparked concerns about how a senior FBI agent in charge of counterintelligence in the New York office of the agency who was engaged in the Russian collusion investigation would end up working for a Russian tycoon.

The FBI, then directed by Robert Mueller, requested Deripaska for help in 2009 to locate a missing former agent called Robert Levinson, who vanished while on a CIA operation involving Iran.

Deripaska said he spent millions of his funds attempting to assist the FBI in gathering information about Levinson’s location and came close to organizing a transfer of Levinson back into American custody, according to FBI officials, Levinson’s family, and Deripaska himself. The transaction, however, failed.

The FBI secured a special visa for Deripaska to enter the country many times in exchange for his assistance.

Deripaska and the Washington elite have many ties with all the makings of a Hollywood film, in which the Russian tycoon keeps appearing as a character analogous to Forrest Gump.

What the U.S. government knows about Deripaska is a mystery, and that is why it alternates between enlisting his assistance and alienating him.