Russian Oil Czar’s $120 Million Luxury Yacht Seized By French
French customs declared on Thursday that it had reportedly seized a superyacht owned by Russia’s oil czar and second most powerful man, Igor Sechin. The seizure happened while it attempted to depart from the port of La Ciotat. The luxury vessel had breached EU sanctions, Bruno Le Maire, France’s Finance Minister informed.
“Amore Vero” the estimated $120-million yacht was seized as part of the implementation of the sanctions by the EU against Russia when it was going through maintenance work at a La Ciotat shipyard on the French Riviera, a well-known summer playground for the ultra-rich. The statement added that the vessel was owned by a company, in which Sechin was the primary shareholder.
Authorities had moved after it started preparing to cast off in a rush without the work being finished, Olivier Dussopt, the junior budget minister said. Per reports from Forbes, another near-$600 million luxury yacht that belongs to Alisher Usmanov, a Russian billionaire, has been seized by German authorities. The Dilbar, purchased by Mr. Usmanov in 2016, has the biggest swimming pool to be ever installed on any yacht.
German authorities, however, have denied Forbe’s statement about them seizing the “Dilbar” yacht at the port of Hamburg. A challenge for European authorities partly is assessing vessel ownerships, which are registered in low-tax jurisdictions and owned by front companies or trusts.
Rory Jackson, the Superyacht Group’s business editor, said that the boats targeted were possibly in Europe as they were scheduled for maintenance. He added that during this time in the year, it’s the Caribbean season’s end and the Mediterranean season is going to start in May. The yachts in Europe are most likely getting their refit work done.
He also spoke about shreds of evidence of Russian owners keeping vessels in the Caribbean or moving them to locations that were out of reach of the American or European authorities such as to Seychelles.
Authorities from the Maldives have reported that “Clio” a superyacht belonging to Oleg Deripaska, yet another billionaire has anchored off its capital, along the “Titan” owned by Alexander Abramov, a steel magnate.
Putin has been linked to the 80-meter boat named “Graceful” repeatedly. It was moved from Germany’s port of Hamburg to Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave, on the Baltic Sea early in February, per data on Marinetraffic.com, a ship-tracking website.
Nearly five other megayachts owned by Russia’s billionaires recently reached the Maldives, per recent ship tracking data.
Separately on Thursday, French authorities seized a Russian cargo vessel at the port of Lorient in Brittany.
The EU sanctions are likely to hit the businesses of Europe’s superyacht builders, particularly concentrated in Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, and Britain, and those serving as part of the crew. However, campaigners have argued that Putin is dependent on the loyalty of a group of businessmen and targeting the wealth of these men would be a legit way to destabilize his regime.
Russia’s invasion on Ukraine is expected to worsen as many major cities come under more indiscriminate bombing, French President Emmanuel Macron fears after a call he had with Vladimir Putin.
The warning came through during a day of continued attacks on Ukraine’s cities, including Kharkiv and Kyiv, which have experienced massive damage.
The attempts to seize the cities have failed so Kremlin forces have resorted to heavy bombing, resulting in several thousand civilian casualties.