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May 28, 2019

IPG CEO Gapontsev, Treasury request more time to settle oligarch lawsuit

Photo | Courtesy Valentin Gapontsev

IPG Photonics CEO Valentin Gapontsev and the U.S. Department of the Treasury are requesting more time to settle the department’s labeling of Gapontsev as a Russian oligarch. 

In a filing on Friday, the parties said they engaged in a fruitful mediation session with a magistrate judge last week, but they need more time to resolve the case. 

A second call with a magistrate judge is scheduled on Tuesday and sides are requesting a joint status report on a settlement by June 14. 

Gapontsev, a dual U.S.-Russian citizen who moved his laser manufacturing company to Oxford and who himself lives in Worcester, sued the Treasury in December nearly a year after he was labeled as a Russian oligarch due to his inclusion of the Forbes list of Russian billionaires. 

The magazine has since moved him to the U.S. list, but Gapontsev remains on the Treasury’s so-called oligarch list created at the behest of U.S. Congress to respond to Russian malign activities. 

However, Gapontsev himself has never been mentioned as a player in any hostile state activities. Gapontsev’s company does have a large presence in Russia and has even been the beneficiary of a $45-million investment from a Russian government-backed entity, but he maintains he only met Russian President Vladimir Putin once when he received an award for his scientific accomplishments.

Regardless, Gapontsev and his company have said they are losing business as U.S. government contractors and other firms become hesitant to do business with a labeled Russian oligarch. 

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