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    US raids properties of sanctioned Russian billionaire

    NEW YORK (AFP) – United States (US) law enforcement on Thursday raided two New York properties belonging to Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin and the target of sanctions, NBC News reported.

    Federal agents and local police officers were spotted carrying boxes after they left an apartment in Manhattan’s lavish Park Avenue and a house in the Hamptons, an upscale vacation destination near New York City, according to the report.

    Both properties are linked to Vekselberg, NBC said, citing US Treasury documents. Authorities are also searching a property on Miami’s Fisher Island believed to be linked to Vekselberg, NBC reported.

    Vekselberg is the head of the Renova Group, a Moscow-based conglomerate, and one of several wealthy Russians who have been targetted by sanctions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

    The sanctions have frozen Vekselberg’s US assets and banned American companies from doing business with him and his companies.

    He is also being investigated by the US Justice Department for committing bank fraud, but no charges have been filed, NBC reported.

    In April, Vekselberg’s EUR90 million superyacht was seized by Spanish authorities at the request of the US government.

    The 78-metre-long yacht named Tango was impounded at the Mediterranean port of Palma de Mallorca by Spanish police, Spain’s Guardia Civil police force said in a statement issued at the time.

    Police stand inside the gated grounds of a home linked to Viktor Vekselberg, in Southampton, on New York’s Long Island. PHOTO: AP
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