“He owed us a lot of money. And he was offering ways to pay it back.”
That’s the most intriguing and enticing quote from an article published today by Time. The quote is from a guy named Victor Boyarkin, who Time tracked down at a conference in Greece, apparently after quite a bit of sleuthing. Boyarkin works for Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch and he’s talking about Paul Manafort.
Boyarkin just got on the US latest sanctions list earlier this month and, as the article describes, he’s someone who’s spent a life at the intersection of “Russian espionage, diplomacy and the arms trade.” But in recent years he’s worked for Deripaska and he drew the assignment to collect the money Manafort owed his boss. “I came down on [Manafort] hard,” he told Time, after he consented to a generally unresponsive interview.
A lot of this story we know. Manafort owed Deripaska millions of dollars. He was broke. Once he hooked up with Trump in early 2016 he tried to offer his newfound clout and access as a way to get back into Deripaska’s good graces. Here we have mainly more detail and color. But in addition to that color, we get a fuller picture of the way Russia’s government used its hold over various oligarchs to subvert or suborn foreign governments while leaving a bit of distance and deniability for the Russian government itself.
Montenegro was another place Deripaska and Manafort worked together, first a decade ago and then much more recently. Manafort was pitching his services there, apparently as part of his continuing relationship with Deripaska, only weeks after he got booted from the Trump campaign in August 2016.
This is another article that helps see the bigger picture beyond individual emails and meetings and who exactly denies or admits to some meeting. Manafort worked for the same Russian oligarch (with or through, depending on your perspective) in Ukraine, Montenegro and various other countries. His appearance in US politics, running the campaign of the future President, fits the model from those other countries pretty much exactly.