The Atlantic has obtained the 2016 email correspondence between Paul Manafort and his longtime business partner Konstantin Kilimnik that appears to reference an effort to get back in the good graces of a Kremlin-aligned oligarch with whom Manafort had had a falling out.
The existence of the emails was previously reported by the Washington Post and according to the Post, they have been turned over to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. However, the Atlantic report published Monday provides a fuller account of the exchanges between Manafort and Kilimnik — which occurred at a time when Manafort was taking on a bigger role within the Trump campaign — as well as confirms that shorthand names used in the emails were references to Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska and one of his aides.
In some of the emails obtained by The Atlantic, Kilimnik seemed to signal to Manafort that he had been forwarding to a Deripaska aide named Victor media coverage of the work Manafort was doing for the Trump campaign.
“I am carefully optimistic on the issue of our biggest interest,” Kilimnik said in one of the emails obtained by the Atlantic. “Our friend V said there is lately significantly more attention to the campaign in his boss’s mind, and he will be most likely looking for ways to reach out to you pretty soon, understanding all the time sensitivity. I am more than sure that it will be resolved and we will get back to the original relationship with V.’s boss.”
A spokesperson for Deripaska denied that the Russian oligarch received any of the emails or was otherwise in contact with Manafort during that time, according to the Atlantic.
Manafort’s spokesperson reiterated the defense he initially gave of the emails when they were first reported by the Washington Post. The spokesperson, Jason Maloni, told the Atlantic they were “innocuous” and that it was “no secret Mr. Manafort was owed money by past clients.”
Deripaska’s spokesperson,Vera Kurochkina, rebutted the suggestion that Deripaska owed Manafort money.
“To the contrary, as set out in widely reported court filings, it is Mr. Manafort who has failed to provide any accounting in respect of investments for which he was responsible. Mr. Manafort is the debtor here, not the creditor,” she told The Atlantic.
Manafort and Deripaska worked together on a 2008 deal to buy Black Sea Cable, a Ukrainian telecommunications company, according to a lawsuit later filed by Deripaska in a Cayman Islands bankruptcy court. The deal fell apart, and Deripaska took Manafort to court in 2014 with the claim that Manafort and his associates disappeared after Deripaska gave them nearly $19 million as part of the Black Sea Cable transaction.
The lawsuit has since gone quiet, with no new filings since 2015, according to the Atlantic’s search of the court records.