The FBI has searched the Washington residence of Oleg Deripaska, reigniting US enforcement action against the Russian metals tycoon who was placed under sanctions in 2018 over alleged links to the Kremlin.
The agency on Tuesday said in a statement it was “conducting court-authorised law enforcement activity” at the address of Deripaska’s home in the US capital, declining to elaborate further.
Deripaska and 23 other prominent Russian oligarchs and government officials in April 2018 were hit with the toughest measures imposed by Washington in response to Moscow’s 2014 invasion of Crimea and alleged meddling in the 2016 US election.
The oligarch at the time said the claims were groundless and sued the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the agency overseeing US sanctions policy. The lawsuit was dismissed by a US district court judge in June.
The US Treasury last year justified sanctions against Deripaska — whose fortune sits at nearly $5bn, according to Forbes — by citing reports that he helped Russian president Vladimir Putin launder money. The allegations were denied by Deripaska and Putin’s spokesman at the time.
He also came under scrutiny from US investigators for his business dealings with former president Donald Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort, who was convicted of tax evasion and bank fraud in 2018 following Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Manafort was among dozens of people pardoned last year by Trump in his final days in office.
Deripaska built an aluminium, energy and industrial empire from previously state-owned assets privatised after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and before the 2008 financial crisis he was Russia’s richest man.
The mansion stormed by the FBI remains one of the hottest properties in Washington’s real estate market. Deripaska in 2006 reportedly paid $15m for the 23,000 sq ft home, which includes seven bedrooms and Italian marble floors.
Formerly owned by Herbert Haft, the late discount store tycoon, the white stone house is steps away from Embassy Row, the central Washington area featuring diplomatic missions, embassies as well as senior government officials’ homes.
Deripaska could not immediately be reached for comment.
Additional reporting by Joshua Chaffin