Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents reportedly raided the Washington, D.C. home of Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska earlier Tuesday, the agency confirmed to multiple outlets.
The FBI did not immediately detail the reason for their presence. A spokesperson told CNBC that the agency was conducting “court-authorized law enforcement activity” at Deripaska’s home, but did not elaborate. Multiple FBI agents were seen restricting access to the D.C. property, images shared by NBC News show.
— Laura Strickler (@strickdc) October 19, 2021
Deripaska is an energy tycoon reported to have close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. He founded Basic Element, one of Russia’s largest business groups, and was the head of Russian energy companies such as En+ Group and United Company Rusal until 2018.
The Trump administration sanctioned Deripaska, along with roughly two dozen Russian oligarchs and government officials, in April 2018 in response to Russia’s “military pressure, malicious cyberactivities and malign influence across numerous countries.”
A Treasury Department press release noted that Deripaska had been investigated for money laundering and was accused of “threatening the lives of business rivals, illegally wiretapping a government official, and taking part in extortion and racketeering.” (RELATED: Russia Cuts Ties With NATO, Suspends Mission, Closes Office)
The Russian billionaire reportedly had ties to former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, who was indicted in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election just months after Deripaska was sanctioned.
Deripaska had been denied a visa to enter the U.S. in 2018 over his alleged ties to organized crime. But U.S. officials at the time said Moscow had given him diplomatic status, allowing him to enter the U.S. with legal immunity, NBC News reported.
Deripaska filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s sanctions, but a federal judge dismissed the case in June, according to Reuters.