Putin ally Oleg Deripaska explains why he‘s suing the US Treasury Department

Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire known to have close ties to the government of President , said on Sunday he would fight the U.S. government in court for “weaponizing the financial system” against him.

The metals tycoon on Friday, in an attempt to cast off sanctions placed on him last year.

On Sunday he told CNBC‘s in Moscow that he launched the suit to clear his name, and he denied that the Kremlin encouraged his legal action against the sanctions. He expressed surprise at U.S. actions against him.

“I personally was taken in this step by full surprise, and I hope that sooner or later people will recognize it is wrong,” Deripaska said.

“It is getting worse and worse,” he said. “Last hearing in Congress, when people start blaming me personally for any sort of things which I had no connection … (it is) just fantasy.”

“So, it has given me total understanding that the legal system in the U.S. may be the last resort where people could assess the facts and to see, you know, what justice will be,” Deripaska said.

When asked whether he had taken the decision to sue the U.S. Treasury Department at the instruction of the Kremlin, Deripaska said anyone who believed that was “totally wrong.”

The sanctions, which fall under Washington‘s CAATSA (Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) legislation, as part of a wider measure to punish and what Treasury Secretary described as its “malign activity around the globe.”

with the U.S. presidential election.

“Weaponizing the financial system … can be justified if its drugs, nuclear proliferation, trafficking. But, to apply the same means (or) the same tools on entrepreneurs, and crushing all concept of presumption of innocence and fair process, I don‘t think it is something which will stay long,” Deripaska said.