The FBI searched properties in Washington and New York linked to a Russian oligarch

Oct 19, 2021
Originally published on October 19, 2021 2:10 pm

Updated October 19, 2021 at 3:35 PM ET

FBI agents executed search warrants Tuesday at properties in Washington, D.C., and in New York City that are linked to the prominent Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

At a stately residence located in Northwest Washington near several embassies, FBI agents could be seen outside, and authorities had cordoned off the property with yellow police tape.

Agents also searched a property in New York, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

It was not immediately clear what investigators were looking for, but the two people said the searches are part of a criminal investigation.

A spokeswoman for Deripaska, Larisa Belyaeva, told the Russian news agency TASS that the FBI searched two houses that belong to the businessman's relatives.

Deripaska made his fortune in metals in Russia in the 1990s, and U.S. officials say he is closely aligned with the country's president, Vladimir Putin.

Deripaska did business in the early 2000s with Paul Manafort, who later became Donald Trump's campaign chairman during the 2016 presidential race. Deripaska's relationship with Manafort later soured amid business and legal disputes.

Their relationship was detailed in special counsel Robert Mueller's report from his investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia interference in the election.

In 2018, the U.S. Treasury slapped sanctions on Russian metals magnate Oleg Deripaska and six other Russian oligarchs as well as Russian companies and government officials.
Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP

The Senate Intelligence Committee also scrutinized Deripaska in its own report on Russia's 2016 election interference.

"The Committee found that Deripaska conducts influence operations, frequently in countries where he has a significant economic interest," the panel's report said. "The Russian government coordinates with and directs Deripaska on many of his influence operations."

In 2018, the U.S. Treasury slapped sanctions on Deripaska and six other Russian oligarchs as well as Russian companies and government officials.

The Treasury said Deripaska claims to act on behalf of the Russian government. It also said he has been investigated for money laundering and has been accused of threatening the lives of business rivals and taking part in 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 report said.

Deripaska sued the U.S. government over the sanctions. In his lawsuit, he called the allegations against him "nothing more than false rumor and innuendo" and said they are rooted in decades-old attacks from his business competitors.

This summer, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., dismissed the case.

NPR national security correspondent Greg Myre contributed to this report.

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