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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Deripaska, Mogilevich Hired Top U.S. Lobbyists, WSJ Says

A number of high-profile Russian and Ukrainian businessmen have hired top names in U.S. politics as lobbyists as they seek to improve their image in the West amid allegations of shady dealings, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Billionaire Oleg Deripaska has retained former Senate majority leader Bob Dole since 2003 to lobby the U.S. State Department to grant him a visa, the newspaper said.

Deripaska paid Dole's law firm, Alston & Bird, $300,000 in 2003 for activities involving "U.S. Department of State visa policies and procedures," according to lobby filings with the U.S. Senate.

Deripaska had been denied a U.S. visa for several years, the paper said.

The U.S. Department of State granted Deripaska a visa in 2005, after Dole worked for two years to convince U.S. officials that Deripaska was a legitimate and transparent businessman, the newspaper said. Deripaska paid Dole's firm an additional $260,000 upon receipt of the visa, it said.

According to Forbes magazine, Deripaska is Russia's sixth-richest man, with an estimated fortune of $13.3 billion.

The newspaper also said former FBI chief William Sessions was acting as a lawyer to Semyon Mogilevich, the Ukrainian-born Russian who is on the FBI's most wanted list over his purported organized-crime links.

Sessions is lobbying the U.S. Department of Justice as it investigates charges of racketeering against Mogilevich for involvement in shady energy deals between Russia and Ukraine, the newspaper said.

The paper also reported that IT and Communications Minister Leonid Reiman had hired Washington consultant Mark D'Anastasio to help him fight a U.S. investigation into allegations of money laundering. Meanwhile, Mikhail Fridman's Alfa Group, which has had a long-running legal battle with allies of Reiman's over the fate of a blocking stake in telecom firm MegaFon, paid nearly $2 million in fees to lobby group Barbour Griffith & Rogers.