Fiji seized $325 million yacht from Russian millionaire at US request

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The 348-Amadea, owned by Suleiman Kerimov, is valued at $325 million.

Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

The Fiji government seized a huge $325 million dollar yacht owned by a Russian millionaire at the request of the United Statesthe Justice Department announced Thursday.

The 348-Amadea, owned by Suleiman Kerimov, a suspected US-sanctioned money launderer. in 2018 as one of several oligarchs who profited from the Kremlin “through its corruption and malign activities around the world, including the occupation of Crimea,” according to the Justice Department.

“This ruling should make it clear that there is no hiding place for the assets of people who violate American law,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland. it’s a statement.

“There is no hiding place for the assets of criminals tolerated by the Russian regime. The Department of Justice will be relentless in its efforts to hold accountable those who facilitate the death and destruction we are witnessing in Ukraine.”

The Russian millionaire profited from the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin and played a “key role in advancing Russia’s malign activities”, according to an affidavit filed as part of the seizure order. He allegedly funneled US money through US financial institutions to finance the superyacht while it was under sanction without the required licences.

The yacht has annual operating costs of between $25 million and $30 million, the Justice Department estimated.

Kerimov is a former economist and politician whose net worth is $14.5 billion, according to Forbes.

Lawyers have maintained that the oligarch did not own the superyacht, but US officials believe he has owned the ship since 2021.

Although official documentation said the ship planned to head to the Philippines next, authorities believe its actual destination was Russian waters, where the luxury vessel could avoid seizure by the United States.

Amadea’s automated information system went dark on February 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine.

The seizure was coordinated through the Justice Department’s “KleptoCapture” task force, whose goal is to enforce US sanctions put in place in response to the war in Ukraine. The task force also coordinated the seizure of the 255-foot Tango worth $90 million from oligarch Viktor Vekselberg in Spain last month.

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