FBI raids homes in Washington and New York over Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska

FBI agents on Tuesday (Oct 19) raided a residence in Washington, DC and one in New York City linked to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire with ties to the Kremlin and Paul Manafort, who was the former head of Donald Trump’s campaign team in October. 2016 United States (US) presidential election.

The FBI brought out a number of boxes from a mansion in one of Washington’s wealthiest areas, with a police line reading “NO THINGS OUT” stretched across the front yard of the house. The FBI also appeared to tow a vehicle from the house.

An FBI spokesman confirmed that it was carrying out law enforcement activities at home that were previously reported in the daily The Washington Post associated with the figure of the Russian tycoon.

The specific reason for the sealing and search of the house was not clearly stated, while an FBI spokesman did not provide further details.

A representative from Deripaska said the house, as well as the one in New York, belonged to a relative of the tycoon. Reuters currently can not confirm the whereabouts of Deripaska.

Likewise an FBI spokesman in New York, who confirmed “law enforcement activity” at a home in New York City’s Greenwich Village area, and declined to comment further.

Deripaksa, 53, has remained under US sanctions since 2008. Washington imposed sanctions on him and a number of other influential Russians for their ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin after allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election emerged.

Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska speaks to the media outside the offices of his company GAZ in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, April 16, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Kirill Kudryavtsev)

Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska speaks to the media outside the offices of his company GAZ in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, April 16, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Kirill Kudryavtsev)

Deripaska had employed Manafort, who was convicted in 2018 of tax evasion and bank fraud, and was among the central figures being questioned in an investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, which Moscow has denied.

Russia used Manafort and the Wikileaks website to try to help Trump win the election, a US Senate committee led by Republican senators said in its final review of the case last year. While still in office last December, Trump pardoned Manafort.

The Senate report found that Putin personally directed Russian efforts to hack into computer networks and accounts affiliated with the Democratic Party, as well as leaking information against Trump’s then opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The report also accused Manafort of collaborating with Russia, including Deripaska and a Russian intelligence agent, before, during and after the presidential election.

Deripaska partially owns Rusal – an aluminum producer – through its stake in the holding company of giant aluminum producer En+ Group.

Washington had previously lifted sanctions against the two companies, but retained the sanctions imposed on Deripaska. Moscow-listed Rusal shares lost money after reports of the Washington house raid were published, dropping 6%.

Deripaska’s representative, who declined to give his name due to company policy, confirmed the raids on the two houses and said they belonged to the Deripaska family, not the tycoon himself.

The representative said the search was conducted under two subpoenas related to US sanctions, but gave no further details. [rd/jm]

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