NYT: Russian Oligarch Once Close To Manafort Wants Immunity To Testify

Billionaire Oleg Deripaska attends an investment forum in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told participants at the "Russia Calling!" forum, sponsored by state-owned bank VTB, that "we plan to consistently and purposefully reduce state intervention in the economy and, moreover, step up privatization processes." (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)
Sergey Ponomarev/AP

A Russian oligarch who once employed former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has asked for full immunity in order to testify before Congress about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the New York Times reported Saturday.

Congressional officials told the Times that the committees leading investigations were unwilling to meet Oleg Deripaska’s terms out of concern that such an arrangement would complicate the work of federal investigators.

Deripaska, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, did business with Manafort in the mid-2000s. The Associated Press reported in March that the aluminum magnate negotiated a $10 million lobbying contract with Manafort to do work that would “greatly benefit the Putin Government.”

After the story came out, Deripaska took out ads in multiple major U.S. newspapers saying he never acted on Putin’s behalf and offering to be interviewed by Congress. He sued the AP in May after it refused to retract the piece or issue a correction. The news organization is standing by its story, saying it intends to fight Deripaska’s suit “vigorously.”

Manafort’s foreign ties, including his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine, are a key part of the federal investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Kremlin operatives.