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    Russian Businessman Deripaska Has Right to Speak in US Congress - Putin

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    Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska has the right to speak in the US Congress, and Russia is ready to receive US senators, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday at the International Arctic Forum.

    ARKHANGELSK (Sputnik) — Earlier in March, AP claimed it had obtained information about Manafort's annual contract worth $10 million with Deripaska signed in 2006. The news outlet said the obtained documents, allegedly authored by Manafort, implicated him in work to "greatly benefit the Putin government" by furthering its interests in the United States and Europe as well as the former Soviet states. The relationship continued at least until 2009, according to AP.

    The AP story has been dismissed by all the sides mentioned. Deripaska called the claims of his $10-million contract to promote the Russian government's interest "a lie," threatening legal action over any false allegations against him, he added that he can testify in theUS  Congress if needed. Deripaska's official spokesperson said that Manafort provided the billionaire with consultations within the framework of contracts which exclusively related with Deripaska's business interests.

    "Regarding the speech. I was informed that our lawmakers repeatedly sent invitations to both the US Congress and Senate to come to Moscow and a proposal [for us] to come to the United States, Washington, in order to meet,…talk frankly on key issues of bilateral relations, the international agenda. There has been no response," Putin said.

    "But if some representative of our business goes there, meets there, speaks there in Congress… that's his right. We have nothing against it," he said.

    The White House distanced itself from the story by stressing that all the allegations date back over a decade and that Trump was not aware of Manafort's previous clients.

    Manafort resigned from Trump's campaign in August, long before the presidential election in November. He had been accused of previously accepting millions of dollars in off-the-books payments from deposed Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych's Party of Regions while working as an adviser to the former head of state.


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