FBI agents search luxury US homes of Russian oligarch and Putin ally

FBI agents have searched luxurious US properties belonging to a sanctioned Russian oligarch with links to Vladimir Putin.

Federal agents raided a Park Avenue high-rise building in Manhattan, as well a Hamptons estate linked to billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, reported NBC New York.

A search was also underway at a property on Miami’s exclusive Fisher Island.

Ukrainian-born Mr Vekselberg, who owns Russian conglomerate Renova Group, had his $90m super yacht Tango seized by authorities for the coast of Spain in April.

The 255-foot yacht was seized at the Marina Real in Palma De Mallorca, Spain, by Spain’s Civil Guard and officials from KleptoCapture, a Justice Department task force set up in March to seize Russian assets.

The DoJ said Mr Vekselberg bought Tango in 2011 but hid his ownership through shell companies.

That seizure took place after western allies put in place sanctions in reaction to Moscow’s unprovoked February invasion of Ukraine.

Viktor Vekselberg with Vladimir Putin in 2019

(AFP via Getty Images)

Agents from Homeland Security Investigations, the FBI, as well as NYPD detectives were seen carrying out searches at the Park Avenue building, and a residence at Duck Pond Lane in Southampton, New York.

Under the sanctions, Mr Vekselberg’s assets in the US are frozen and American companies cannot do business with him.

He made his personal fortune out of investments in Russia’s aluminum and oil industries.

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