FBI raids homes linked to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska

FBI agents raided homes linked to Russian oligarch Oleg V. Deripaska in New York’s Greenwich Village and Embassy Row in Washington on Tu...


FBI agents raided homes linked to Russian oligarch Oleg V. Deripaska in New York’s Greenwich Village and Embassy Row in Washington on Tuesday morning as part of an investigation into whether he violated sanctions imposed on him by the United States, according to people with knowledge of the case and a spokeswoman for Mr. Deripaska.

The searches were carried out more or less simultaneously by agents in New York and Washington, and were part of an investigation by the FBI and federal prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the people said.

Mr. Deripaska, an aluminum tycoon linked to Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, was a client of Paul Manafort, who for several months served as campaign chairman of Donald J. Trump in 2016 and was convicted in 2018 for fraud financial and other crimes. .

A spokesperson for the FBI office in New York only said the officers were “carrying out a law enforcement operation as part of a police investigation,” and did not provide details on the nature or the scope of the investigation. A spokesperson for the Southern District declined to comment.

But a spokeswoman for Mr. Deripaska released a statement confirming the searches and saying the investigation was linked to US sanctions.

“The FBI is conducting a search of two houses – located in Washington and New York – belonging to relatives of Mr. Deripaska,” said spokeswoman Larisa Belyaeva. “The searches are carried out on the basis of two court decisions, linked to American sanctions. “

Officers searching the Greenwich Village home arrived early in the morning in about half a dozen SUVs and were seen leaving the building with several large, flat rectangular boxes like those used to transport paintings.

The raid on the house in Washington was reported earlier by NBC News.

In 2018, the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Mr. Deripaska and his gigantic aluminum company, claiming he had taken advantage of Russia’s “malicious activities” around the world. By announcing the sanctions, the Trump administration cited charges that Mr. Deripaska had been accused of extortion, racketeering, corruption, links to organized crime and even ordering the murder of a businessman.

Mr. Deripaska denied the allegations supporting the sanctions, and his allies argued that the sanctions were punishment for refusing to play ball with the Americans.

The Trump administration lifted sanctions against Mr. Deripaska’s businesses in 2019 under a deal to reduce his control and ownership, though a confidential document shown the deal may have been less punitive than announced, leaving him and his allies majority ownership of his most important company.

A few weeks later, Mr. Deripaska failed sued the US government to rescind the sanctions against him, alleging that they were imposed without due process and were based on unproven defamation that fell outside the sanctions program.

In the lawsuit, lawyers for Mr. Deripaska claimed the sanctions cost him billions of dollars, made him “radioactive” in international business circles and exposed him to criminal investigation and confiscation. of assets in Russia.

The sanctions restrict his ability to own property or do business in the United States.

Mr. Deripaska’s ability to travel to the United States has also been restricted in the past, although he did manage to travel to New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Hawaii before the sanctions, people familiar with his trip said.

And he’s also been the subject of FBI and Brooklyn federal prosecutors for several years, according to people familiar with those investigations, but it’s not clear if the searches have anything to do with these issues.

The oligarch has also come under close scrutiny by the special council investigating links between the Trump campaign and Russia, due to his ties to Mr Manafort.

Mr. Deripaska hired Mr. Manafort and signed his company to a $ 10 million per year contract in 2006, at least in part to help him with his visa, which the US government revoked. Mr. Deripaska ultimately fired Mr. Manafort and his partner and later sued them for an unsuccessful telecommunications business they had conducted together.

But after Mr. Manafort joined Mr. Trump’s campaign in 2016, he asked his deputy to periodically provide confidential Trump campaign poll data to an associate that he said would be shared with Mr. Deripaska, according to him. a report published by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

During the campaign, the FBI and the Justice Department to no avail tried to turn Mr. Deripaska into an informant, signaling that they could help him solve his problems obtaining visas for the United States in exchange for information about possible Russian aid to Mr. Trump’s campaign. Mr Deripaska told US investigators he disagreed with their theories about the Kremlin’s collusion in the campaign.

Property records show the homes raided by the FBI on Tuesday – a sprawling mansion in an affluent northwest Washington neighborhood and a historic three-story townhouse in Greenwich Village that was once a sweatshop called Pirate’s Den and more late home of Mayor Jimmy Walker’s lover – owned by opaque limited liability companies.

The LLC that owns the Greenwich Village property is related to a person identified in UK court documents as cousin of Mr. Deripaska.

Nate schweber and Rebecca Davis O’Brien contributed reports. Susan C. Beachy and Kitty bennett contributed research.

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Newsrust - US Top News: FBI raids homes linked to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska
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