Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska said in response to U.S. allegations against him that his relations with Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s one-time campaign manager, ended “seven or eight years ago.”

The Russian businessman, an associate of President Vladimir Putin, on Friday filed suit against the U.S. Treasury Department in an attempt to get rid of sanctions placed on him last year as part of Washington’s response to Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 elections.

Deripaska came under scrutiny in the United States for his ties to Manafort, with whom he had numerous business dealings.

In an exclusive interview with CNBC’s Geoff Cutmore in Moscow, Deripaska called U.S. allegations against him “very absurd” and claimed that his name and brand were used since he is “successful.”

“Yes they used my brand. I am successful, from Russia. I know a lot of people. Channels like you are interested in my opinion on politics, economy. They branded me,” Deripaska said.

Court filings have revealed that Manafort was deeply indebted to the Russian billionaire, whom the U.S. put on a list of “Designated Russian Oligarchs” last April.

Manafort reportedly used his position in the Trump campaign to try and resolve his debt problems with Deripaska, offering him “private briefings” about the progress of the campaign, according to 2016 emails shared with investigators.

Deripaska denies that he ever received such an offer from Manafort.

He told CNBC Sunday that now he is waiting to hear how the U.S. will respond, saying “Justice Department will present facts, and I hope they will not hide behind national interests.”


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