At the behest of the U.S. Department of Justice, officials in Fiji seized the Amadea on Thursday, a $300 million yacht owned by Russian mining mogul Suleiman Kerimov.
“There is no hiding place for the assets of criminals who enable the Russian regime,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a press release.
“Last month, I warned that the department had its eyes on every yacht purchased with dirty money,” added Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “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.”
CNBC provides background:
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.
CBS News reports:
The Amadea berthed in Fiji on April 13, according to local reports and the maritime analytics website Marine Traffic. That day, a federal judge approved a warrant for the ship to be seized and on April 19, Fiji’s top prosecutor moved to prevent the ship from leaving.
The warrant claims the yacht had traveled “from the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, to Mexico, then to Fiji,” a route U.S. officials believed meant Kerimov may have been “making plans for the Amadea to travel to Russia in an effort to avoid U.S. efforts to seize the vessel.”
CBS News adds:
Khudainatov has been tied to another even larger yacht that is the focus of intense international speculation and investigation in Italy. Local media there have said the $700 million Scheherazade — one of the world’s largest yachts, which U.S. officials reportedly suspect may be tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin — is registered to him.