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FBI, Homeland Security search for alleged Russian oligarch’s property in New York and Florida

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Federal agents were seen Thursday morning searching a Manhattan high-rise apartment and estate in the Hamptons, which authorities allege have ties to a Russian oligarch who recently had his yacht seized, according to known sources. with the case.

Homeland Security Investigations and FBI agents, along with New York City Police Department detectives, were seen carrying boxes during a search on Duck Pond Lane in Southampton, New York, and Park Avenue in Manhattan. Evidence shows those properties are linked to sanctioned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, a billionaire and a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, who heads the Moscow-based Renova Group, a conglomerate with interests in the metals, mining and mining industries. and technology industry. according to the documents of the Ministry of Finance.

A search is also underway at a residence on Fisher Island in Miami, which authorities say is associated with Vekselberg, according to sources familiar with the case.

The US seizure of Vekselberg’s $90 million superyacht in early April was the first under newly-imposed Western sanctions against assets of Russian elites in response to the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. Vekselberg is one of many Russian oligarchs facing sanctions since the start of the war.

In addition to sanctions, Vekselberg has been the subject of a Justice Department investigation into allegations of bank fraud. In that case, no declaration has been made.

All of Vekselberg’s assets in the United States have been frozen and US companies are prohibited from doing business with him and his entities. The Ukrainian-born businessman built his fortune by investing in the aluminum and oil industries in the post-Soviet era.

Vekselberg has long ties to the US, including a green card he once had and homes in New York and Connecticut. He was also questioned in then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

A call to a lawyer related to the Hamptons estate was not immediately answered on Thursday. Attempts to reach a representative for Vekselberg were not immediately successful.

Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI confirmed that their agents were at those locations, but declined to comment further. The Justice Department and the NYPD declined to comment immediately.

CORRECTION (September 1, 2022, 11:30 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this article misstates the value of Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg’s superyacht. It’s $90 million, not $900 million.

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