In a post on Instagram, Oleg Deripaska responded on Friday to allegations by politician Alexey Navalny, who claims the oligarch bribed Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Prikhodko with a luxurious and sex-filled excursion aboard his private yacht. Deripaska is threatening to go to court to defend his reputation against unspecified “false accusations,” calling attempts to discredit him “the inventions of a group of people“ and “part of an organized” defamation campaign. He quickly disabled comments on the Instagram post, but not before Navalny was able to ask him to specify exactly which “false accusations” he has in mind.
On February 8, Navalny published allegations against Deripaska and Prikhodko, claiming that the two met aboard Deripaska’s yacht in August 2016 off the coast of Norway, possibly to discuss the oligarch’s relationship with Paul Manafort and his role in Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Navalny says bribery is the only rational explanation for Prikhodko’s luxurious property holdings, and he’s called on President Putin and federal law enforcement to investigate the matter.
Navalny attributes his evidence of the yacht trip to a self-described escort who calls herself Nastya Rybka. He says he first became aware of Nastya after she announced a “Navalny hunt” in September 2017, threatening, “Lyosha, one of us will find you, screw you, and upload the video to the Web.” After Navalny published the allegations against Deripaska and Prikhodko, Nastya posted a video on Instagram claiming that she’d actually been gang-raped aboard Deripaska’s yacht, saying that she would press charges if the oligarch doesn’t marry her and agree to appear alongside her on tabloid television. Hours later, she shared another video saying that she was only “trolling.”
Spokespeople for President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev have refused to comment on Navalny’s allegations. “I couldn’t comment and I wouldn’t want to do it,” Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Friday.