MOSCOW—In Russia, 50-year-old Oleg Deripaska is known as the winner of some brutal crime wars that left him a billionaire aluminum magnate and President Vladimir Putin’s favorite industrialist.
When it comes to the Trump-Russia collusion investigation, Deripaska, whose fortune is estimated at $5.1 billion, has attracted a lot of attention because of his links to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
According to a report in The Washington Post last September, Manafort owes Deripaska $19 million and, only two weeks before Trump accepted the nomination as the Republican presidential candidate in July 2016, offered to brief Deripaska on the U.S. race.
Last May, Deripaska allegedly offered to cooperate with the congressional investigations of Russian meddling in which Manafort is a leading suspect. But the committees would not grant him full immunity out of concern, at the time, that it might muddy the Department of Justice investigations.
Now, thanks to inquiries by corruption-fighting opposition leader Aleksei Navalny and revelations by a call girl calling herself “Nastya Rybka, oligarch huntress,” Deripaska’s biography has added a new chapter of sleaze that might in fact form part of the trail to Trump.
On Thursday, Navalny published an exposé on YouTube describing Deripaska’s three-day long yacht voyage in 2016 in the company of his petite, pouty girlfriend-model-sex-worker Rybka and Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko, who is the Kremlin’s most influential official with regard to foreign relations, albeit with one of the lowest profiles.
Navalny suggests that the Manafort, Deripaska, Prikhodko connection is the centerpiece of Trump campaign collusion with the Kremlin. But Navalny’s tongue-in-cheek delivery does not strengthen his case. The Trump link is offered, as he puts it, for “dessert” after a lengthy tale of call girls and corruption.
The Navalny video, helpfully (and sometimes playfully), includes English subtitles as the would-be (but banned) presidential candidate looks into the camera with his bright blue eyes and lays out his case.