The FBI seized a painting by Diego Rivera and Prada shoes from Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska
In October 2021, the FBI seized half a dozen works of art, along with financial documents, phone bills and other miscellaneous luxuries from Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska from his Washington, D.C. mansion and his West Village townhouse. Months later, we now understand why the raid took place: to understand how Deripaska transferred money for the benefit of the Russian state.
Deripaska, who has an estimated net worth of $3 billion, has been sanctioned by the United States since 2018. The 2018 report that sanctioned Deripaska revealed that he traveled on a Russian diplomatic passport and had represented the Russian government.
According to the US Treasury, he “was investigated for money laundering and charged with threatening the lives of business competitors, unlawfully wiretapping a government official, and participated in extortion and racketeering”.
However, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to a new report in Bloomberg“The investigation into Deripaska’s assets is now part of an escalating US crackdown on ultra-wealthy Russians suspected of laundering money and hiding assets to help fund Putin’s regime.”
Assets seized from Deripaska include a Diego Rivera painting (details of which have not been released by the FBI), five other paintings, a pair of Prada shoes, sunglasses and a baseball cap.
His spokeswoman dismissed the allegations about Deripaska, saying Bloomberg in a statement, “Not a single investigation into Mr. Deripaska has ever produced evidence to support the lies and baseless allegations made against him. To think that seizing baseball caps and shoes from homes that do not ‘even belong to Mr. Deripaska will somehow make these lies more believable is absurd.’ (The houses belonging to companies that would belong to Deripaska.)
After the war started, Deripaska posted on his social media “Peace is very important!” Deripaska also wrote in favor of the peace talks, writing, “Negotiations must begin as soon as possible!”
The investigations into Deripaska are wrapped up in a larger probe into the Russian oligarch’s assets in the United States, called Task Force “KleptoCapture” by the US Department of Justice. “The Department of Justice will use all of its authorities to seize the assets of individuals and entities who violate these sanctions,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement in March. “We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to investigate, arrest and prosecute those whose criminal acts enable the Russian government to continue this unjust war. Let’s be clear: if you violate our laws, we will hold you accountable.
“To those who support the Russian regime through corruption and circumvention of sanctions: we will deprive you of refuge and hold you accountable,” added Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. “Oligarchs, be warned: we will use every tool to freeze and seize your criminal proceeds.”
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