Russian Billionaire Fights to Avoid Jail by Decrying ‘Vendetta’
10 Jun 2020

The long-running legal spat between billionaire Oleg Deripaska and Vladimir Chernukhin took another twist after the former Russian government minister demanded Deripaska be put in jail.

Chernukhin, whose wife is one of the largest donors to the Conservative Party in the U.K., claims Deripaska breached a commitment to court following a London ruling last year. The billionaire, who is subject to U.S. sanctions, struggled to pay around $100 million in damages he owed before finally sending the funds via a German account held by VTB Bank PJSC, according to Deripaska’s legal filing.

His attorneys said Vladimir Chernukhin, an ex-deputy minister who later fled to the U.K., is pursuing a “vendetta” against him and the attempt to have him imprisoned is simply an “abuse of process.”

The London court hearing this week is part of a years-long dispute between the two that stretches back to a spat over the ownership of a ritzy Moscow development. Deripaska still faces personal sanctions from the American government, and was forced to step away from his companies as part of conditions for lifting restrictions on his aluminum producer.

The billionaire — “an international pariah,” according to Chernukhin — was forced to open the Frankfurt account after other banks refused to accept his funds, according to Deripaska’s legal filing. He also offered up a block of shares in En+ Group International PJSC before finally making the payment at the end of last year.

By Jonathan Browning, Bloomberg, 9 June 2020

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