Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny published an inquiry Thursday alleging that a Russian Cabinet member received lavish hospitality from billionaire Oleg Deripaska, a tycoon who has been linked to U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Navalny's investigation, published Thursday, draws from the social media account of a woman who claims to have had an affair with Deripaska. The woman, who calls herself Nastya Rybka, has written a book about her work as an escort and said in an interview on Russian television last year that she has been hired by a modeling agency to spend time at Deripaska's yacht, The Washington Post reported.
Rybka posted several videos in 2016 showing Deripaska on his yacht talking with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko. In one snippet, Deripaska explains to the woman why relations between Russia and the United States are so bad.
Read alsoRussia's Navalny calls for election boycott as officials ban him from runningNavalny quoted public records suggesting that Prikhodko spent several days on the yacht and was flown there by Deripaska's private jet.
Navalny's foundation earlier published documents suggesting that Prikhodko, a long-time public servant with no significant private income, owns a luxurious mansion outside Moscow.
Read alsoManafort had a whole separate shadow government structure in Ukraine – The AtlanticDeripaska's spokesman rejected Navalny's report.
"These scandalous and mendacious assumptions are driven by sensationalism and we totally refute these outrageous false allegations in the strongest possible way," he said in an emailed statement, asking to be unnamed in line with the company's policy.