Russian oligarchs move yachts as US tries to ‘hunt down’ and freeze assets – Reuters

Southampton, England, UK, Super yacht Dilbar 15,917 Tones, owned by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov departing Southampton Port.

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Superyachts owned by Russian billionaires who have ties to President Vladimir Putin are on the move as the United States and its allies prepare new sanctions against their ownership following the invasion of Ukraine.

Data reviewed by CNBC from Marine Traffic shows that at least four massive yachts belonging to Russian business leaders are heading for Montenegro and the Maldives since a wide range of sanctions were announced in recent days by leaders of the worldwide, including the US Treasury targeting Central Bank of Russia. The Maldives does not have an extradition treaty with the United States, according to nomadic capitalist.

The property of the targeted Russian leaders is likely to take another blow, as the Biden administration recently announced the creation of a task force that will target their lucrative assets, including yachts and mansions. France is putting together a list of Russian oligarchs’ properties, including cars and yachts, that could be seized under European Union sanctions.

“Next week we will launch a multilateral transatlantic task force to identify, track and freeze the assets of sanctioned Russian companies and oligarchs – their yachts, mansions and any other ill-gotten gains we can find and freeze under law” , a White House’s recent tweet reads.

With this, some of Russia’s wealthiest are moving their boats to other locations, potentially in hopes of avoiding these items being seized.

The mega-yacht “Luna” is in the Blohm+Voss drydock in the harbour. The yacht, which is around 115 meters long, was built for Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and is now believed to be owned by another Russian oligarch.

Marcus Brandt | Image Alliance | Getty Images

Vagit Alekperov, who is the chairman of Russia-based Lukoil, is sailing his yacht towards Montenegro, according to Marine Traffic. He should arrive there in the next few days from Barcelona.

Alekperov’s yacht is known as the Galactica Super Nova and, according to Superyacht Fan, which tracks the whereabouts of these types of vessels, it features a “6-meter glass-bottom swimming pool with a waterfall. And a touch-and-go helipad, an elevator and a great beach club. Alekperov has a net worth of just under $25 billion, according to Forbes.

Montenegro is a member of NATO. Their foreign minister said Montenegrowhich applied for membership of the European Union in 2008, will join the EU in its sanctions against Russia.

At least three yachts owned by other Russian billionaires are approaching the Maldives, a small country in the Indian Ocean. The island has been a hotspot for tourists from Russia over the years. Maldives’ tourism minister says Russia’s invasion will have a major impact in their tourism sector.

Billionaire Oleg Deripaska’s yacht, known as Clio, left Sri Lanka nearly two weeks ago and is due to arrive in the Maldives soon, according to Marine Traffic. Deripaska and companies associated with him were sanctioned in 2018 by the United States. He was one of the few Russian-based billionaires who opposed the war in Ukraine.

“Peace is the priority. Negotiations need to start as soon as possible,” said Deripaska, who has an estimated net worth of around $4 billion, tweeted on Sunday.

Representatives of the billionaires mentioned in this story and the governments of the Maldives and Montenegro did not respond to requests for comment.

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Russian oligarchs move yachts as US tries to ‘hunt down’ and freeze assets – Reuters