Russian oligarch’s yacht seized in Fiji on US request

WASHINGTON: Authorities in Fiji have seized the US$300 million yacht of Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov after the United States Justice Department requested that the vessel be held for violating sanctions and for alleged ties to corruption, the department said on Thursday (May 5).

The five-year-old 106m-long Amadea was berthed in Lautoka, Fiji, in the South Pacific when local authorities took control of it based on a US warrant and a Justice Department request.

“The Amadea is subject to forfeiture based on probable cause of violations of US law, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, money laundering and conspiracy,” the department said in a statement.

Kerimov is among a group of Russian oligarchs “who profit from the Russian government through corruption and its malign activity around the globe, including the occupation of Crimea”, the department said.

The United States has imposed sanctions on Russian oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin as part of a wave of economic punishment for the invasion of Ukraine.

Kerimov, who has made a fortune as part owner of major Russian energy and financial companies including Gazprom and Sberbank, is also an official of the Russian government and a member of the Russian Federation Counsel, it said.

“NO HIDING PLACE”

“There is no hiding place for the assets of criminals who enable the Russian regime,” US Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

“The Justice Department will be relentless in our efforts to hold accountable those who facilitate the death and destruction we are witnessing in Ukraine,” Garland said.