Fiji seizes $300 million superyacht belonging to Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov

Wealth

The 106m-long and 18m-high super luxury motor yacht Amadea, one of the largest yacht in the world is seen after anchored at pier in Pasatarlasi for bunkering with 9 fuel trucks, on February 18, 2020 in Bodrum district of Mugla province in Turkey.
Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Fijian authorities seized a $300 million superyacht owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.

The move to confiscate the nearly 350-foot motor yacht Amadea in Lautoka, Fiji, comes as Western governments intensify efforts to track, identify and seize assets around the globe belonging to sanctioned Russians with ties to the Kremlin.

In March, the Biden administration announced a new task force, dubbed KleptoCapture, to enforce sweeping U.S. and allied sanctions imposed on Russian elites who have helped to finance President Vladimir Putin‘s unprovoked war in Ukraine.

“Last month, I warned that the department had its eyes on every yacht purchased with dirty money,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco wrote in a statement. “This yacht seizure should tell every corrupt Russian oligarch that they cannot hide, not even in the remotest part of the world. We will use every means of enforcing the sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war in Ukraine.”

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, sanctioned Kerimov in 2018. At the time, Treasury said Kerimov was an oligarch who profited from the Russian government through corruption and its illegal annexation of Crimea. It added that the Russian billionaire was also an official in the Russian government.

The Justice Department estimates that Kerimov’s yacht is worth $300 million or more. The Cayman-flagged motor yacht is reported to have an interior layout that sleeps up to 16 guests in 8 cabins and is equipped with a helipad.

Last month, German authorities said they had seized the world’s largest superyacht after official confirmation that the vessel had links to Russian billionaire and business tycoon Alisher Usmanov.

A German official confirmed to CNBC on April 14 that the motor yacht was linked to Usmanov and therefore subject to seizure. Germany’s federal police informed European authorities in Brussels the previous day that a thorough investigation found the vessel was owned by Usmanov’s sister, Gulbakhor Ismailova.

A file photo dated September 10, 2018 shows mega yacht named “Dilbar” belonging to Uzbek-born Russian business-magnate Alisher Usmanov as it refuels by a tanker in Mugla, Turkiye. Germany seizes Russian billionaire Usmanov’s yacht at Port of Hamburg.
Sabri Kesen | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

German authorities initially restricted the stunning superyacht from leaving its anchorage on March 3, according to a senior Biden administration official with knowledge of the matter.

The yacht, named Dilbar, after Usmanov’s mother, extends over 500 feet and is equipped with two helipads and the largest indoor swimming pool ever installed on a private vessel. The Treasury Department estimates that Usmanov’s yacht is worth approximately $735 million.

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