Deripaska started working as FBI asset in '09 after Mueller fixed his visa.
Much of the case that’s made against Mueller probe defendant Paul Manafort is based in allegations made in the media that Manafort is a paid agent of Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska. What few seem to understand is that Deripaska has been acting as an asset of U.S. intelligence for at least the last nine years, beginning in 2009 when Robert Mueller was Director of the FBI.
For a number of years beginning in the late 1990s, after he took over Rusal, the largest Russian aluminum concern, Deripaska had increasing problems entering the U.S., where like many oligarchs he has huge amounts of parked money. In 2006, his U.S. visa was revoked. In 2009, his visa problems were “fixed.” Ironically, it was Robert Mueller who helped cure that problem for Deripaska. Here’s part of the back story to that as told in The Hill earlier this summer:
[T]here’s one episode even Mueller’s former law enforcement comrades — and independent ethicists — acknowledge raises legitimate legal issues and a possible conflict of interest in his overseeing the Russia election probe.
In 2009, when Mueller ran the FBI, the bureau asked Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska to spend millions of his own dollars funding an FBI-supervised operation to rescue a retired FBI agent, Robert Levinson, captured in Iran while working for the CIA in 2007.
Yes, that’s the same Deripaska who has surfaced in Mueller’s current investigation and who was recently sanctioned by the Trump administration. The Levinson mission is confirmed by more than a dozen participants inside and outside the FBI, including Deripaska, his lawyer, the Levinson family and a retired agent who supervised the case. Mueller was kept apprised of the operation, officials told me.
In 2009, another key event occurred in Oleg Deripaska's career. That was Oleg's public humiliation by Vladimir Putin. In early June, this remarkable exchange occurred before the assembled cameras at a Russian cement plant.
04 Jun 2009
Mr Putin, who is a master at dispensing ritual humiliation, likened Oleg Deripaska to a cockroach and forced him to accompany him on a tour of Pikalevo, a factory town that has witnessed the most serious social unrest Russia has seen since the start of the global economic crisis.
Last week Pikalevo’s residents vented their anger over job losses and unpaid wages at one of the oligarch’s local factories by blocking a major road and causing a 250-mile traffic jam. The unprecedented protest reportedly worried the Kremlin, which has long been afraid that Russia’s imploding economy could cause serious political unrest.
Anxious to ensure that the Pikalevo problem remained an isolated one, Mr Putin sought to cast himself as the town’s saviour – and Mr Deripaska as its villain.
Oleg seemed at that moment ready-made for recruitment and ripe for pay-back. If one were CIA/FBI/MI-6, that would certainly be a moment to make an approach, particularly as Deripaska’s fortune (along with his ego) had just be trimmed back from $40B to a mere $4.9B, according to the article in The Telegraph.
MORE – FBI approached Deripaska before election to gather dirt on Trump
Deripaska Involved in FBI Efforts to Gather Dirt on Trump Campaign Before Election
In his May 14, 2018 column in The Hill, John Solomon reports some more startling details about Oleg Deripaska’s ongoing relationship with the FBI. In addition to his 2009 role in the attempted retrieval of a former Bureau agent held in Iran as a CIA spy, FBI agents again approached Oleg to gather information on figures in the Trump campaign. Solomon writes: http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/387625-mueller-may-have-a-conflic...
Deripaska also appears to be one of the first Russians the FBI asked for help when it began investigating the now-infamous Fusion GPS “Steele Dossier.” Waldman, his American lawyer until the sanctions hit, gave me a detailed account, some of which U.S. officials confirm separately.
Two months before Trump was elected president, Deripaska was in New York as part of Russia’s United Nations delegation when three FBI agents awakened him in his home; at least one agent had worked with Deripaska on the aborted effort to rescue Levinson. During an hour-long visit, the agents posited a theory that Trump’s campaign was secretly colluding with Russia to hijack the U.S. election.
“Deripaska laughed but realized, despite the joviality, that they were serious,” the lawyer said. “So he told them in his informed opinion the idea they were proposing was false. ‘You are trying to create something out of nothing,’ he told them.” The agents left though the FBI sought more information in 2017 from the Russian, sources tell me. Waldman declined to say if Deripaska has been in contact with the FBI since Sept, 2016.
Elsewhere in the article we learn that one of the agents who worked with Deripaska in 2009 was none other than Andrew McCabe, the recently fired FBI Deputy Director. McCabe testified before the House Intelligence Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information. The Steele Dossier was leaked by Steele to the press at about the same time that these agents approached Deripaska, just a couple months before the 2016 election.
Contrary to most accounts, Manafort -- the subject of much of the Steele Dossier -- is hardly the agent of the Kremlin through Deripaska he's often portrayed to be. Much of Mueller's indictments of Manafort are in fact based upon information provided by Deripaska in a series of lawsuits he filed against Manafort in open court cases going back to 2014.
Another startling coincidence is that Deripaska’s lawyer cited in the article, Adam Waldman, also turns out to be the Washington legal counsel to none other than MI-6 veteran and Fusion-GPS contractor, Christopher Steele. According to Jane Meyer's portrait in the New Yorker, Oleg is also a client of Steele's London private spook shop, Orbis, through Deripaska's long-time UK lawyer: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/03/12/christopher-steele-the-man...
Orbis promises confidentiality, and releases no information on its clientele. Some of its purported clients, such as a major Western oil company, are conventional corporations. Others are controversial, including a London law firm representing the interests of Oleg Deripaska, the billionaire victor of Russia’s aluminum wars, a notoriously violent battle.
Indeed, a bit of sleuthing reveals that the litigious Mr. Deripaska has been represented since 1999 by London-based Bryan Cave law firm attorney named Paul Hauser, and that Waldman has withdrawn his appearance as attorney. Notably, a court in London just awarded Deripaska through Hauser clear title to 100% of several billion dollars of contested holdings in Rusal in a law suit dating back to 2007 with two competing Oligarchs. Perhaps, that's what this has been all about, all along.