Fijian authorities seized a $300 million superyacht owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov, the US Department of Justice announced Thursday.
The move to confiscate the nearly 350-foot motor yacht Amadea in Lautoka, Fiji, came as Washington and its allies press Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. The Western governments have intensified efforts to track, identify and seize assets around the world belonging to sanctioned Russians with ties to the Kremlin.
Fijian law enforcement, with the support and assistance of the FBI, acted after a legal assistance request from the US Department of Justice as a seizure warrant was issued from the US District Court for the District of Columbia.
The court found that the Amadea is subject to forfeiture based on probable cause of violations of U.S. law, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), money laundering and conspiracy.
“Last month, I warned that the department had its eyes on every yacht purchased with dirty money,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco wrote in a statement. “This yacht seizure should tell every corrupt Russian oligarch that they cannot hide, not even in the remotest part of the world. We will use every means of enforcing the sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war in Ukraine.”
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, sanctioned Kerimov in 2018. During this time, Treasury said Kerimov was an oligarch who profited from the Russian government. The Justice Department estimates that Kerimov’s yacht – which is reported to have an interior layout that sleeps up to 16 guests in 8 cabins and is equipped with a helipad – is worth $300 million or more.
“This seizure demonstrates the FBI’s persistence in pursuing sanctioned Russian oligarchs attempting to evade accountability for their role in jeopardizing our national security,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “The FBI, along with our international partners, will continue to seek out those individuals who contribute to the advancement of Russia’s malign activities and ensure they are brought to justice, regardless of where, or how, they attempt to hide.”
Last month, German authorities said they had seized the world’s largest superyacht after official confirmation that the vessel had links to Russian billionaire and business tycoon Alisher Usmanov.