Oleg Deripaska made previously unreported trip to United States during 2016 election
The Russian oligarch crossed paths with the Trump campaign in Northern California
Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch that Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort owed millions of dollars, made a previously unreported trip to the United States in June 2016. Deripaska’s travel to Northern California came at a time when the Trump campaign was also in the area, campaigning before the June 7th California primary elections.
Social media posts and flight records reviewed by this reporter confirm that Deripaska landed in San Francisco on June 1st, 2016. According to an Instagram post made on June 2nd, Deripaska attended the Clean Energy Ministerial — a series of global forums held to promote a transition to clean energy. The aluminum and energy magnate was accompanied by Anton Inyutsyn, the Russian Deputy Minister of Energy.
Deripaska’s previously unreported venture to the Bay Area came at a time when the Trump campaign was crisscrossing the same territory, ahead of the California primary. On June 1st, Trump held a rally in Sacramento before traveling south to San Jose for a campaign event the following evening. Deripaska was on the campus of UC Berkeley on June 2nd, according to his social media.
On his Instagram, Deripaska documented his trip to Berkeley and claimed that he “discussed the possibilities of cooperation with Moscow State University.”
Roqua Montez, Executive Director of Communications & Media Relations at UC Berkeley, denied that Deripaska had any official meetings with staff acting on behalf of the university.
All relevant departments here have done their due diligence and we have determined that we have no record of any meeting between our the university and Oleg Deripaska or discussion of an exchange agreement with Moscow State University.
If Mr. Deripaska did indeed come to Berkeley, he may have met individually with faculty members, and we wouldn’t necessarily have knowledge of such meetings.
Deripaska has been banned from entering the U.S. for at least 8 years, due to his ties to organized crime. However, he has been able to visit on occasion with a special diplomatic visa issued by the Russian government.
A State Department official refused to comment numerous times when asked why Deripaska was permitted to enter the country in June 2016.
The revelation of Deripaska’s June trip to the United States comes as his American lawyer, Adam Waldman, revealed that the Russian oligarch was questioned by FBI agents in New York in September 2016. According to Waldman, the FBI asked questions about Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.
These facts place Deripaska in the vicinity of the Trump team at least twice during the election season. Campaign Chairman and Deripaska business partner Paul Manafort offered the Russian billionaire private briefings in July 2016 via an intermediary named Konstantin Kilimnik. All men deny that any such briefings ever took place.
As Manafort and Kilimnik secretly met in August to discuss “unpaid bills,” one of Deripaska’s private planes was en route from Moscow to Newark. It remains unknown why this flight was chartered.