After weeks of investigation, Italian authorities announced late Friday that they had seized a nearly $700 million superyacht, saying the owner had “significant economic and business ties” with “prominent elements of the Russian government”. According to US officials, none other than Russian President Vladimir V. Putin is the prominent element.

In recent days, the Scheherazade, as the huge luxury vessel is called, has shown signs of readiness to set sail, apparently aiming to depart before the Italian government could seize it. But late on Friday, Italian police boarded the yacht – which is 120 meters long, with two helicopter decks, a gym and a swimming pool that can be converted into a dance floor – and told the crew the ship was not going anywhere. The Italian Ministry of Finance announced that an investigation had found that the owner of the vessel, who was not named, was a person who “threatened peace and international security” and that the person’s actions amounted to ” undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”

The ministry also cited the urgency to implement the restrictions as a reason to freeze the floating and extremely expensive assets.

Italian authorities, which have actively seized villas and yachts belonging to sanctioned Russian oligarchs, said in a statement that the ship, which is in the dry dock of the port of Marina di Carrara, on the northern coast of Tuscany, has even seized taken. although the person they identified as the technical owner was not currently on any European sanctions list. They added that they could not name the person until the European Council published the name, and the Italian government commission charged with protecting the country’s financial security called for the person’s name to be added to the list. .

Italian media has been reporting for weeks that Eduard Khudainatov, a Russian oil tycoon currently not under sanctions, owns the yacht. Mr Khudainatov is considered close to Igor Sechin, a powerful oligarch and a close friend of Mr Putin who is currently under sanctions. Italian financial police officials reached Friday evening declined to say who they believe owned the vessel.

The captain and chairman of the Marina di Carrara shipyard, where the Scheherazade has undergone remodeling and wintered for two consecutive years, have denied claims by US intelligence, construction workers, crew members and locals in the small port that the ship is unofficially is owned by, and is for use by, Mr Putin. They have argued that on paper it belonged to a Russian individual who has not been sanctioned by international authorities.

The ship’s captain, Guy Bennett-Pearce, recently told bohobarmadrid that the owner was not on the sanctions list, but also denied seeing or meeting Mr. Putin on the yacht.

But a former crew member of Scheherazade told bohobarmadrid that he had never heard of Mr. Khudainatov and confirmed that the crew members always believed and discussed that the real owner was Mr. Putin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.