FBI agents have been conducting "court-authorized law enforcement activity" at properties in Washington and New York linked to Oleg Deripaska, a U.S.-blacklisted Russian oligarch with ties to the Kremlin, news agencies reported on October 19, citing a spokesperson for the law enforcement agency.
FBI agents were seen carrying boxes out of a house that had yellow police tape across the front yard in one of the U.S. capital's wealthiest districts. They were also seen towing away a vehicle.
The FBI, however, didn’t confirm whether the residence on 30th Street in the U.S. capital was Deripaska's home. A 2017 Washington Post report tied a property on that street to Deripaska, who has been subjected to U.S. sanctions since 2018.
A spokesperson for the FBI's New York office confirmed that "law enforcement activity" at a property in the Greenwich Village neighborhood situated in the New York borough of Manhattan but did not give further details.
Deripaska's representative told Reuters that the FBI was conducting searches at two houses belonging to relatives of the tycoon in New York and Washington, adding that Deripaska was not the owner of the houses.
The representative said the searches were being carried out based on two court warrants related to U.S. sanctions.
The United States sanctioned Deripaska and six other Russian oligarchs in 2018 for supporting Russia’s "malign activity around the globe," including the Kremlin's aggression against Ukraine and because of their ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin afterMoscow's alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.
The U.S. Treasury Department also sanctioned three companies -- Russian aluminum giant Rusal, its parent company En+, and power firm EuroSibEnergo -- which are linked to Deripaska. Given Rusal's size and importance, the sanctions roiled global metal markets, unnerving businesses in the United States and Europe.
The U.S. administration later reached a deal with the three Russian firms to end Deripaska's control in return for the lifting of the sanctions, forcing the oligarch to divest much of his holdings.