On US request, Fiji seizes a Russian oligarch’s $325 million yacht.

The Department of Justice revealed Thursday that Fiji’s government confiscated a large $325 million yacht owned by a Russian businessman at the request of the US.

Suleiman Kerimov, the owner of the 348-Amadea, was sanctioned by the US in 2018 as one of numerous billionaires who benefitted from the Kremlin “through corruption and its harmful activities around the globe, including the takeover of Crimea,” according to the DOJ.

In a statement, Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “This judgement should make clear that there is no hiding spot for the assets of persons who violate US laws.”

“There is also no safe haven for the assets of criminals who support the Russian state.” The Justice Department will work tirelessly to hold those responsible for the bloodshed and damage we are witnessing in Ukraine accountable.”

According to an affidavit provided as part of the seizure request, the affluent Russian benefited from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime and played a “key role in advancing Russia’s malign actions.” The US claims he used American financial institutions to fund the superyacht while under penalty and without the necessary licenses.

Russian billionaire Suleiman KerimovKerimov is an alleged money launderer.

According to the DOJ, the yacht’s annual operating costs are between $25 million and $30 million.

According to Forbes, Kerimov is a former economist and politician with a net worth of $14.5 billion. The oligarch’s lawyers claimed he didn’t own the superyacht, but US officials believe he has owned it since 2021.

Although the ship’s official paperwork stated that it was headed to the Philippines, investigators suspect the luxury vessel’s true destination was Russian waters, where it could elude US seizure.

A photo taken on April 13, 2022 shows the superyacht Amadea, reportedly owned by a Russian oligarch, berthed at the Queens Wharf in Lautoka.
The yacht docked at the Queens Wharf in Lautoka.
Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov
The Russian oligarch was hiding his assets in Fiji.

According to the Associated Press, the Amadea’s automated information system was turned off on February 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine.

The seizure was organized by the Department of Justice’s “KleptoCapture” task force, which tries to execute US sanctions imposed in response to the Ukraine conflict.

Last month, the task team orchestrated the seizure of oligarch Viktor Vekselberg’s $90 million, 255-foot Tango in Spain.

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