European authorities seize yachts belonging to Russian oligarchs

France and Germany impounded luxury yachts belonging to two Russian oligarchs on Thursday, as other yachts were tracked to the Maldives in their attempts to evade the latest sanctions stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Thanks to the French customs officers who are enforcing the European Union’s sanctions against those close to the Russian government”, France’s Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire declared.

He was commending the seizure by French customs officials of the 88-metre long “Amore Vero”, belonging to Rosneft oil company head Igor Sechin, which had been preparing to flee the French Riviera port of La Ciotat. The yacht is registered as the property of a company of which Sechin is one of the main shareholders.

Another yacht was impounded in the German port of Hamburg, where it was undergoing a refit in the Blohm + Voss shipyard, according to Forbes Magazine. The yacht belongs to Russian billionaire, Alisher Usmanov.

According to the publication, the 156-metre yacht was declared a frozen asset by the German government, and employees working on the vessel did not show up for work on Wednesday. Usmanov’s representative said he had no confirmation of the yacht’s reported seizure, and the German customs office refused to comment on the matter, saying details of operational measures cannot be made public.

The Blohm + Voss shipyard also declined to comment, stressing only that all orders and projects of its owners and subsidiaries were treated “in accordance with the legal situation”.

Meanwhile, at least five luxury yachts belonging to Russian oligarchs were tracked to the Maldives on Wednesday, having fled Europe ahead of the sanctions imposed on their owners. The Maldives, located in the Indian Ocean, have no extradition treaty with the US or the EU, and the yachts’ owners reportedly hope this would protect their vessels from being seized.


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