We recently wrote about how the war in Ukraine may hurt yacht sales. Now, it appears that U.S. federal government and others are going after Russian oligarchs who already own them. The U.S. authorities are freezing all assets in the U.S. and prohibiting U.S. companies from doing business with the billionaires. The U.S. went a step further when it seized a 254-foot superyacht likely owned by Viktor Vekselberg, a close Vladimir Putin ally and CEO of a defense conglomerate involved in aluminum and other metals, mining, tech, and other things.
Vekselberg used a series of shell companies and flew a Cook Islands flag in an attempt to hide ownership of the $140-million Tango, nonetheless Spanish Civil Guards and U.S. federal agents seized the yacht moored at the Marina Real in the port of Palma de Mallorca, the capital of Spain’s Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea.
The seizure is just the first since Attorney General Merrick Garland and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen created REPO, an acronym for Russian Elites, Proxies and Oligarchs. REPO is designed to enforce the sanctions imposed upon Russia and super-wealthy friends of Putin since Russia invaded Ukraine.
“It will not be the last,” Garland said in a statement. “Together, with our international partners, we will do everything possible to hold accountable any individual whose criminal acts enable the Russian government to continue its unjust war.”
Others also have yachts seized
French authorities have also seized superyachts, including one owned by a Putin ally oil baron. Italian officials seized several yachts docked in Italy, including the 215-foot Lady M, worth 65 million euros, a 132-foot watercraft and a 469-foot sailboat and superyacht worth $578 million. Germany and England are also making plans to seize oligarchs’ property.
One tantalizing boat still out there is Putin’s $700-million superyacht called Scheherazade, which reportedly has gold toilet paper holders. The 495-foot ship was recently docked at Marina di Carrara in Italy and is currently under investigation, although the captain claims that Putin is not the owner.