Yacht seized from Russian oligarch Kerimov sails to U.S. after Fiji ruling

The 106m long and 18m high superyacht Amadea, one of the largest yachts in the world, is seen after anchoring at the pier in Pasatarlasi to make contact with nine fuel trucks, on February 18, 2020. in Bodrum district, Mugla province, Turkey. .

Osman Uras | Anadolu Agency | beautiful pictures

One Superyacht worth 325 million USD which US authorities believe is owned by Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov who traveled to the United States on Tuesday from Fiji after the island nation’s high court authorized its seizure.

The 350-foot yacht Amadea – equipped with a helipad, swimming pool and lobster tank – has been the subject of a weeks-long dispute over its ownership after the US Justice Department tried to get it in early May in Lautoka, Fiji. .

The arrest attempt is part of the DOJ’s “KleptoCapture” campaign to punish Russian billionaires in response to their country’s invasion of Ukraine, and is the latest in a series of similar actions by those others. Western countries target Russian luxury yachts.

Kerimov was sanctioned by the Finance Ministry in 2018 for allegedly profiting from the Russian government through corruption and illegally annexing Crimea to Ukraine in 2014.

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The eight-cabin Amadea left Fiji a day later a federal judge in New York signed a subpoena authorized the DOJ to seize two jets owned by another Russian tycoon, Roman Abramovich, with a combined value of more than $400 million.

“The United States is deeply grateful to the Fijian police and prosecutors, whose perseverance and dedication to the rule of law made this action possible,” DOJ spokesman Anthony Coley wrote in a tweet with photos of the Amadea sailing to the United States following a new American. flag.

The yacht was moved out of Fiji within hours after the nation’s Supreme Court ruled that it was in the public interest to require the ship to “go out of Fijian waters”, as the costs of docking there were “making The government of Fiji must pay a heavy price”, according to comments reported by Reuters.

The judgment noted that Amadea “sailed into Fijian waters without any permits and most probably to evade prosecution by the United States.”

According to the FBI, Amadea has an annual operating cost of $25 million to $30 million. The government of Fiji had to pay those costs in the legal battle over the seizure.

The yacht was registered with Millermarin Investments, arguing that Kerimov did not own the ship and protesting the seizure in the Fijian courts.

A lawyer for Millermarin, Feizal Haniff, argues that the real owner of the yacht is another Russian, Eduard Khudainatov, the former CEO of the state-controlled oil company Rosneft. Khudainatov is not the target of US or European Union sanctions.

Haniff also argued that the US did not have the jurisdiction to seize the ship in Fiji until the question of ownership could be resolved by a court there.

Khudainatov is also listed in the documents as the owner of another superyacht, the Scheherazade, which is valued at $700 million. Scheherazade is related to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who, like Kerimov, has been the target of US sanctions.

The Italian government seized the Scheherazade last month in the Marina di Carrara port.

The FBI said in a court filing that Khudianatov’s listing “as the owner of the two largest superyachts on record, both involving the individuals being punished, indicates that Khudainatov is being use as a clean, dormant straw owner to hide the real beneficial owners.”

Last month, when the US first tried to seize Amadea, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco wrote that she had previously “warned that the department will keep an eye on every yacht purchased with dirty money.”

Monaco wrote: “This yacht seizure should tell every corrupt Russian oligarch that they cannot hide, even in the furthest corners of the world.

“We will use all means to enforce the sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s gratuitous and unjustified war in Ukraine.”

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