A company owned by Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska has filed a lawsuit against Paul Manafort, former head of Trump’s electoral campaign, and his assistant Richard Gates. Deripaska’s Cyprus-based company Surf Horizon Limited accuses Manafort and Gates of millions of dollars of fraud.
Surf Horizon Limited filed a lawsuit at the Supreme Court of the State of New York, claiming that Manafort and Gates pocketed a portion of the $18.9 million which Surf invested in the Ukrainian telecommunications companies known as the Black Sea Cable Group. The billionaire claims to have agreed to this investment at Manafort and Gates’ recommendation. Surf planned to acquire Black Sea Cable through Manafort’s Cyprus-based company, PEM Advisors Ltd., and $18.9 million was transferred to its account in 2008.
Deripaska’s company also claims to have paid $7.35 in costs. “More than $26 million was lost, and the object of Surf’s investment was unavailable, but Manafort and Gates were unable to explain what had happened,” Surf states. However, in May 2017 a company affiliated with Surf, Adoptol Limited, obtained “evidence” that the defendants took for themselves “millions of dollars from what Surf had paid their companies”.
“Surf’s lawsuit demands compensation for damages (the amount which will be determined by the court), caused by the defendants’ fraudulent actions, gross negligence, deceitful treachery, predatory arrogation, as well as compensation for damages amounting to $25” the document states.
Manafort and Gates are also defendants in a criminal case filed by special prosecutor Robert Mueller. They are charged with failing to register as foreign agents and with money laundering. Manafort is accused of working in the interests of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.
Deripaska’s representative promised Manafort in October that there would be “obvious legal consequences” for “manipulation of investments”, but at the time the investment in question was not specified. The day before, the TV channel NBC published an article showing that Manafort and the Russian billionaire had had dealings to the value of more than $60 million. NBC’s publication mentioned amounts of $26 million and $7 million: Oguster Management Ltd. gave loans in those amounts to Yiakora Ventures Ltd. and LOAV Advisers Ltd. respectively, both companies related to Manafort.
A representative of Basel, another company owned by Deripaska, refused to comment.