Federal agents carried out “law enforcement activities” Tuesday at a Washington residence and New York City house tied to Oleg Deripaska Russian oligarch, who is a close ally to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Officials from the FBI declined to provide additional information on their presence at the property, or information about possible investigations involving Deripaska.
Deripaska spokesperson told reporters that the searches were connected to U.S. sanctiones and that the homes did not belong to him, but to his relatives.
Deripaska was placed under sanctions in 2018 and is now prohibited from owning or operating a business in the U.S.
A spokesperson for the agency said that the agents were conducting “court-authorized law enforcement activities” at the multimillion dollar mansion in Washington. A yellow police tape was used to block the driveway. An FBI agent stood outside, watching as other agents entered and left the house throughout the day. Later, a vehicle was seen being lifted onto the tow truck at house.
A spokesperson for the FBI in New York City stated that agents were conducting a “law enforcement operations related to an ongoing probe” to search a house connected to Deripaska, Gay Street, Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.
The narrow and winding street was blocked by police in front of the brick 19th-century townhouse. It was once home to former New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker. Federal agents were seen entering and exiting the house using cameras. More than a dozen agents brought out evidence boxes in a van-load in five vehicles.
The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Deripaska in 2018 after he was “under investigation for money laundering” and “has been accused of threatening business rivals, illegally wiretapping government officials, and participating in extortion, racketeering.”
He unsuccessfully sued to overturn the sanctions. His lawyers claimed that the penalties had cost him billions of money.
Deripaska’s lawyers claimed that the Washington home belonged to a limited liability company. This trust was in turn owned by Deripaska’s British Virgin Island trust. However, Deripaska had never lived there.
Putin is close to the wealthy Russian man who made his fortune in the aluminum industry. Mueller’s special counsel report on the interference in the 2016 presidential election was referenced multiple times.
Deripaska was also connected to Paul Manafort (ex-campaign chairman of President Donald Trump), who was convicted in Mueller’s investigation for eight financial crimes. Trump later pardoned Manafort.
Under the Trump administration, the Treasury Department lifted financial sanctions against three companies that were connected to Deripaska. Officials stated that Derapaska’s indirect and direct shareholdings in the three companies had been reduced so that he has no control over them. Deripaska is still under sanctions.