"Over 200,000 people currently work with me at our enterprises in 41 regions of Russia and in 21 countries across 5 continents. We are not wards of the state as the AP article suggests. I refuse to be dragged as collateral damage into the increasingly shrill and controversial theatre of US-Russia relations. If necessary, I will write and publish a piece every day to counteract the false, anti-Russian narratives being served as daily bread by the traditional US media," Deripaska said in an open letter published in The Washington Post.
The tycoon reiterated that the agency had not provided any proof or even details of his and Manafort's alleged plans to help the Kremlin or buy assets deemed useful for Moscow abroad. All purchases by Deripaska's Rusal aluminum company were made in an effort to secure a bauxite supply chain for Russian facilities in the wake of Soviet disintegration, the letter stressed.
"For years, perhaps mistakenly, I have watched idly as the US media episodically smeared me, my company RUSAL, and by extension my country Russia. Perhaps it was my choice to remain silent that emboldened the AP with a sense of impunity. The latest round of scurrilous reporting is simply too false and too damaging to me, my proud employees and their families, and my country to go unanswered," the letter reads.
In one of his previous responses, Deripaska said he was ready to speak to the US Congress and refute the claims made by AP. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said the businessman or even his representatives should be allowed to speak to Congress if desired.
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.