FBI agents have raided Washington and New York City homes linked to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire who was placed under US sanctions three years ago.
His homes in New York’s Greenwich Village and on Washington’s Embassy Row was swarmed on Tuesday as part of an investigation into whether he violated the US sanctions, according to people with knowledge of the matter and a spokeswoman for Deripaska.
“The searches are being carried out on the basis of two court orders, connected to US sanctions," the spokeswoman said. "The houses do not belong to Mr. Deripaska."
The US Attorney's office in Manhattan, also known as the Southern District of New York, is leading the probe. A spokesman for the FBI office in New York, meanwhile, said the agents were “conducting a law enforcement operation pursuant to a law enforcement investigation,” but did not provide details on the nature or scope of the inquiry.
Deripaska was among two dozen other Russians who were sanctioned by the US Treasury Department in April 2018 following the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election which Moscow denies.
Deripaska is a longtime associate of former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was convicted in 2018 of criminal charges arising from the US investigation into the alleged interference but was pardoned by then-president Trump in December.
Deripaska has been investigated over charges of money laundering and accused of “threatening the lives of business rivals, illegally wiretapping a government official, and taking part in extortion and racketeering,” according to news release announcing the sanctions.
He filed a lawsuit against the US over the sanctions, however, a federal court judge dismissed the case in June. Deripaska has appealed the ruling.
In the suit, his lawyers said the sanctions were levied without due process and that they were based on unproven smears that fell outside the sanctions program.