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Super yachts on the sanctions radar – Crypto News Aktuell in German

The 90 meters long darlinked to Russian billionaire Ziyad al Manasir, will be docked in Singapore on February 21. (Photo: AFP)

Luxury superyachts owned by Russian oligarchs reportedly close to the Kremlin have proved difficult to seize under Western sanctions imposed over Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion a year ago, unleashing a spate of economic sanctions intended to punish his government and its allies at home and abroad.

Among other things, they targeted the flashy and opulent naval status symbols of the Russian elite, which are still scattered around the world.

Experts say many of these yachts disappeared after the attack on Ukraine, before reappearing in the waters of countries that have not joined unprecedented sanctions.

Former CIA agent and author Alex Finley has led an online hunt for Russian-registered megayachts using the Twitter hashtag #YachtWatch.

“People were very interested because … it’s really a visual symbol of what’s happening,” Finley told AFP.

“It became a bit of a game when the sanctions came in and we started to see the yachts disappear,” she said.

But such ships are equipped with state-of-the-art tracking systems that can only be turned off for security reasons such as piracy risks, meaning they can be tracked online.

“Most of them are in Turkey,” Finley said.

“Some of them have been sighted in the United Arab Emirates, so you have some around Dubai. A few have popped up occasionally in the Maldives and Seychelles,” she added.

So far, however, authorities have only detained or confiscated a handful of these opulent vessels, measuring up to 100 meters in length and boasting first-rate amenities.

Too often they swim in ports of countries that have not sanctioned Russia.

cover tracks

Among the few ships seized is the Superyacht dear verowho is linked to Igor Sechin, CEO of Russian state oil giant Rosneft.

The huge white ship, worth over 100 million euros, with a swimming pool that can be converted into a helipad, was seized by French customs in the port of La Ciotat near Marseille in March last year.

The branch newspaper SuperYacht times confirmed other seizures including amadea, a $300 million ship owned by oligarch Suleiman Kerimov that was seized by authorities in Fiji on behalf of the United States in May. It was confiscated in San Diego, California.

Another big catch was Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg’s $90 million superyacht tango in Mallorca, Spain, last April.

The US last month unveiled criminal charges against two men allegedly trying to protect Vekselberg’s ship from being seized.

And British authorities arrested a $50 million Russian-owned superyacht in March phidocked at London’s Canary Wharf.

The situation is further complicated because many yachts shun the Russian flag, while oligarchs often hide behind shell companies to cover their tracks.

The phifor example, is registered to a company based in the Caribbean state of St. Kitts and Nevis and flies the Maltese flag.

But Britain’s National Crime Agency’s anti-kleptocracy unit said its ultimate owner was a Russian businessman. The Financial Times reported last March that it was owned by Vitaly Vasilievich Kochetkov, a telecommunications oligarch. (story continues below)

Super yachts on the sanctions radar – Crypto News Aktuell in German, Crypto Trading News

A crew member cleans Vitaly Kochetkov’s bow phi Superyacht impounded by a unit of Britain’s National Crime Agency at a dock in the financial and business district of Canary Wharf, east London, in March 2022. (Photo: AFP)

“Hypocrisy of the Oligarchs”

The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a consortium of journalists, recently claimed that Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich owned at least 10 other yachts, according to leaked documents, in addition to the six publicly known.

Abramovich, the former owner of Premier League club Chelsea, has been sanctioned by the UK and EU, but not the US, for his close ties with Putin.

And once a yacht is impounded, authorities are left with the huge costs of maintaining it – raising the question of who foots the bill.

“The rule of thumb for maintenance costs is about 10 percent of the ship’s value per year, but on some of the larger yachts it can easily be more,” said Ralph Dazert, head of the intelligence agency SuperYacht times.

“Remember that it’s not just about keeping the yacht in working order, keeping her safe and compliant and looking good, it’s the total cost of ownership of the yacht: so that includes the crew, food and drinks , fuel (and) yacht management.”

For Finley, however, such spending is the price of punishing oligarchs who support Putin while enjoying the “benefits of democracy” elsewhere.

“When it became clear that Putin was going to invade, I started highlighting the Russian yachts that are here just to point out this hypocrisy by the oligarchs,” she said.

“They support Putin in destabilizing democracy, but at the same time they come here.”

Super yachts on the sanctions radar – Crypto News Aktuell in German, Crypto Trading News

The dear veroOwned by a company linked to Igor Sechin, CEO of Russian energy giant Rosneft, is moored in a La Ciotat shipyard near Marseille in southern France in March 2022. (Photo: AFP)

Source: Crypto News Deutsch

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