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Germany seizes $600 million superyacht belonging to Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov

While yachts belonging to five other Russian billionaires headed to the non-extradition Maldives

Source: The Guardian

German authorities have reportedly seized the $600m superyacht belonging to Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov in a Hamburg shipyard.

Usmanov was on a list of billionaires to face sanctions from the European Union in response to Russia’s 24 February invasion of Ukraine.

At least five other superyachts owned by Russian billionaires are now anchored or cruising in the Maldives, an Indian Ocean island nation that does not have an extradition treaty with the US,

A Forbes report based on three sources in the yacht industry said his 156-meter (512-foot) yacht Dilbar, valued at $600m and regarded as the largest motor yacht in the world by gross tonnage, was seized by German authorities on Wednesday.

German authorities did not immediately respond to Reuters' inquiries. Forbes reported that representatives for Usmanov did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ukraine’s advisor to the minister of internal affairs, Anton Geraschenko, responded to the report on Telegram by saying the yacht should be sent to Ukraine and refitted as a missile cruiser.

Usmanov bought Dilbar in 2016 for a reported cost of $600m from German shipbuilder Lürssen, which custom-built it for him over 52 months.

The firm calls it “one of the most complex and challenging yachts ever built, in terms of both dimensions and technology.”

At the time of its launch, Lürssen CEO Peter Lürssen said: “Dilbar has the most advanced security technologies of any superyacht in the world. But the things you read about it containing an anti-aircraft missile defense system are all nonsense.”

At 15,917 tons, it’s the world’s largest motor yacht by gross tonnage and is typically staffed by a crew of 96 people, with space for 24 passengers in 12 suites. It has the largest pool ever installed on a yacht as well as two helicopter pads, a sauna, a beauty salon, and a gym.

At least five other superyachts owned by Russian billionaires are now anchored or cruising in the Maldives, an Indian Ocean island nation that does not have an extradition treaty with the US, ship tracking data showed.

The vessels’ arrival in the archipelago off the coast of Sri Lanka follows the imposition of severe western sanctions on Russia.

The Clio superyacht, owned by Oleg Deripaska, the founder of aluminum giant Rusal, who was sanctioned by the US in 2018, was anchored off the capital Male on Wednesday, according to the shipping database MarineTraffic.

The Titan, owned by Alexander Abramov, a cofounder of steel producer Evraz, arrived on 28 February.

Three more yachts owned by Russian billionaires were seen cruising in Maldives waters on Wednesday, the data showed. They include the 88-meter (288 ft) Nirvana owned by Russia’s richest man, Vladimir Potanin. Most vessels were last seen anchored in Middle Eastern ports earlier in the year.

A spokesperson for Maldives’ government did not respond to a request for comment.

“This coming week, we will launch a multilateral transatlantic task force to identify, hunt down, and freeze the assets of sanctioned Russian companies and oligarchs: their yachts, their mansions, and any other ill-gotten gains that we can find and freeze under the law,” the White House said in a tweet on Sunday.

Washington imposed sanctions on Deripaska and other influential Russians in 2018 because of their ties to President Vladimir Putin after alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election, which Moscow denies.

Cyprus  |  Germany  |  Ukraine  |  Russia  |  sanctions

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