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Manafort pushes back on report he worked to help Putin’s government

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WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Donald Trump’s former campaign chief Paul Manafort pushed back Wednesday on a report that he earned millions of dollars to push Russian government interests around the world.

Manafort confirmed that he worked for Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, but rejected an Associated Press report alleging that work was aimed at furthering the political interests of Putin’s government.

“I worked with Oleg Deripaska almost a decade ago representing him on business and personal matters in countries where he had investments. My work for Mr. Deripaska did not involve representing Russian political interests,” Manafort said in a statement his spokesman provided to CNN.

The White House on Wednesday declined to comment.

“We don’t comment on non-White House employees,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer told CNN.

In a statement to CNN, a spokesman for Deripaska would only say, “There was an agreement between Mr. Deripaska and Mr. Manafort to provide investment consulting services related to business interests of Mr. Deripaska which now is a subject to legal claims.” The spokesman did not provide further details.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Manafort pitched a plan to Derepiska to “greatly benefit the Putin government” and was subsequently paid millions of dollars, according to business records obtained by the AP and interviews the news outlet conducted with sources familiar with the matter.

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