FBI searches home of Russian oligarch in Washington

Washington (AFP) –


US Federal Bureau of Investigation agents were conducting a search on Tuesday at a luxury Washington home owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

The FBI said that it was conducting "court-authorized law enforcement activity" at the home in a fashionable district of the US capital.

"We have no further information to provide at this time," an FBI spokesman said.

FBI agents and crime tape could be seen surrounding the ornate home on Washington's Embassy Row that belongs to Deripaska, an aluminum tycoon.

The United States imposed sanctions in 2018 on Deripaska, a close ally of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Announcing the sanctions, the Treasury Department said Deripaska has been investigated for money laundering, extortion and racketeering.

"There are also allegations that Deripaska bribed a government official, ordered the murder of a businessman, and had links to a Russian organized crime group," the Treasury Department said.

Deripaska filed a lawsuit in March 2019 against the Treasury Department, accusing it of illegally targeting him for sanctions, but the suit was tossed out this year by a federal judge.

The suit claimed that Deripaska's net worth had dropped by $7.5 billion after sanctions were imposed on him and six other Russian oligarchs on April 6, 2018.

Shares of his Rusal metals group plunged and, to keep Rusal, EN+ Group, and other companies in business, Deripaska was forced to transfer his shares to others, it said.

The Russian billionaire also reportedly had close ties to Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential bid.

During the 2016 campaign, according to court filings, Manafort offered Deripaska briefings and polling data on the presidential race, making the offer through Manafort's former business partner and suspected Russian intelligence operative Konstantin Kilimnik.

Manafort was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for financial and other crimes but was pardoned by Trump before he left the White House.