Navigation
  •  

FBI raids Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska’s Washington mansion

FBI agents. (Melanie Rodgers Cox/US Air Force)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation raided a Washington, D.C., mansion linked to sanctioned Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska in a “court-authorized law enforcement activity” Tuesday.

Aluminum tycoon Deripaska and his companies were targeted by U.S. Treasury Department sanctions in 2018 over his ties to Vladimir Putin in response to Russia’s “malign activity around the globe.”

At the time, Deripaska was forced to relinquish control of United Co. Rusal International PJSC, the largest aluminum producer outside of China, in order to remove it from the sanctions list. Deripaska personally remains under the penalties.

“The FBI really is searching houses that are owned by Deripaska’s family members,” a spokeswoman for the tycoon said. “This is done based on two court orders linked to American sanctions. Those houses are in New York and Washington, but Oleg Deripaska doesn’t own them.”

Rusal shares closed down 5.7% to 79.18 rubles in Moscow, the largest drop since June.

The raid could signal a new chapter under the Biden administration to crack down on Deripaska and others for violating U.S. sanctions.

Although Deripaska was forced to relinquish control of his company, European officials provided information to the U.S. government last year indicating that he continued to be involved.

An assessment sent to U.S. officials earlier this year concluded that Deripaska retained significant day-to-day influence over Rusal, one of the world’s largest aluminum producers, and its parent, EN+ Group International PJSC, according to the officials. He used company resources and employees to support his personal business interests and the political agenda of the Kremlin around the world, they said.

Lawyers for Deripaska said the European officials’ allegations weren’t true.

The U.S. sanctioned Deripaska and six other Russian oligarchs in April 2018 for their roles in supporting malign activity, including the occupation of Crimea, support for the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and attempts to subvert Western democracies. The U.S. said it was targeting him for acting or purporting to act on the Russian government’s behalf and for operating in the country’s energy sector.

A Senate Intelligence Committee report released last year described Deripaska as a proxy for the Russian state and its intelligence services.

___

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.