-- DAVOS — No one throws a party quite like an oligarch.
According to the Washington Post, Manafort sent an email to a former employee two weeks before Trump won the Republican nomination asking him to pass an offer of “private briefings” on the election to Deripaska. The email has been turned over to Mueller as evidence.
Both Deripaska and Manafort have denied any wrongdoing. Earlier this month, a firm owned by Deripaska filed suit against Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates alleging that they stole nearly $19 million from Deripaska.
“I’m not allowed in your country,” Deripaska told ABC News at the event, after declining an interview.
Deripaska’s party at Davos has become a must-have ticket at the annual forum, where the after-parties often overshadow the talks. This year’s theme was "Creating a shared future in a fractured world." Many attendees lined up at the door for a bash celebrating Russia’s promise, despite that country’s economic malaise.
Like many other promotional events at the forum, Deripaska’s party started with tributes to his aluminum company, Basic Element, and affiliated charities. Screens lining the walls showed slideshows of elephants for an Africa-based wildlife charity. On the center-stage, scenic images of Russia mixed with videos of workers operating machinery inside of his aluminum plant.
Doors opened at 8 p.m., and the party picked up as a troupe of Cossack dancers, dressed in traditional Russian garb, sang folk music.
Unlike the other staid cocktail receptions hosted by major banks like JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, Deripaska’s packed event evolved into a nightclub scene, with the warm up act to Iglesias – a Russian pop singer – taking the stage. The party pulsed deep into the night and early morning hours, a clash of cultures on full display.
“I was worried about being spotted here,” Baker said. “Russia is so taboo.”
Other notable guests included British financier Nat Rothschild, British politician Peter Mandelsohn, WPP CEO Sir Martin Stuart Sorrell, Gazprom executive Sergey Vakulenko and Pamona CEO Michael Granoff.
In the back of the chalet, grey-haired men in suits lounged on black leather couches separated from the dance floor by a velvet rope. Beautiful young women in pencil skirts and button-down shirts lined the dance floor.
Three security guards flanked Deripaska, monitoring the receiving line aimed at him. The music was blaring but Deripaska spoke softly while guests leaned in for a word. There didn’t appear to be much “collusion” here, at least. Trump was already jetting home, and if any members of his entourage did attend, they managed to escape notice.
The guests crowded the stage for Iglesias, who briefly acknowledged Deripaska. He finished his act at midnight with a “Spasibo” – Russian for “thank you.”
The vodka flowed. Deripaska drank. He danced. He pumped his fist.
Nearby, outside, protesters held up signs reading “Gangster’s paradise.”