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Ukraine war: Russian oligarch’s yacht seized in Fiji

“They can’t hide, even in the most remote places in the world.” Authorities in Fiji have seized, at the request of the United States, a superyacht suspected of belonging to a Russian oligarch targeted by sanctions linked to the war in Ukraine, the American Department of Justice announced on Thursday May 5. The Amadea ship, estimated at 325 million dollars, belongs, according to Washington, to the businessman and deputy Suleiman Kerimov, targeted by European and American sanctions. According to Washington, Mr. Kerimov made his fortune from his stakes in major Russian energy and financial firms, including Gazprom and Sberbank. Moored in Lautoka, in western Fiji, since mid-April, the Amadea had been immobilized by the Fijian authorities since the issuance of a US seizure warrant. Tuesday, May 3, a local court had ordered its seizure, which took place in stride.

“There is no hiding place for the assets of criminals who support the Russian regime,” US Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. “The Ministry of Justice will work tirelessly to hold accountable those who facilitate the death and destruction we are witnessing in Ukraine,” he added. “This seizure shows the corrupt Russian oligarchs that they cannot hide, even in the most remote places of the world”, commented for her part the number two of the American ministry of Justice, Lisa Monaco. “Every yacht bought with dirty money is in our sights,” she said.

Joe Biden wants to liquidate those assets and use the money to compensate for damage to Ukraine

The Amadea measures 107 meters, has a swimming pool, a jacuzzi, a helipad and a “winter garden” on the deck, according to the specialized site superyachtfan.com. Several specialized sites indicate that Kerimov is the owner, but this could not be independently confirmed by AFP. A company registered as the owner of the boat, Millemarin Investment, appealed the seizure to the High Court of Fiji. According to the prosecutor before this court, a decision was expected this Friday, May 6. Spain had already seized in April, at the request of the United States, a superyacht worth 90 million dollars, belonging to Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, an ally of President Vladimir Putin.

Washington announced in March the creation of a cell dedicated to the prosecution of “corrupt Russian oligarchs” and all those who violate the sanctions adopted by Washington against Moscow. Since then, the Americans have “sanctioned and blocked ships and planes worth more than a billion, as well as freezing hundreds of millions of dollars of assets of Russian elites in American accounts”, according to the House. White. President Joe Biden hopes to be able to liquidate these assets and use the money to compensate for the damage Ukraine has suffered.

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