Fiji seizes Russian oligarch’s $325 million yacht at US request

Fiji’s government seized a massive $325 million yacht owned by a Russian oligarch at the request of the United States, the Justice Department said on Thursday.

The 348-Amadea is owned by Suleiman Kerimov, a suspected money launderer sanctioned by the US in 2018 as one of several oligarchs who benefited from the Kremlin “through corruption and its malign activities around the world, including the occupation of Crimea.” , so called the DOJ.

“This ruling should clarify that there is no hiding place for the assets of individuals violating U.S. law,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

“And there is no hiding place for the assets of criminals supporting the Russian regime. The Justice Department will work tirelessly to hold accountable those who facilitate the death and destruction we are witnessing in Ukraine.”

The wealthy Russian benefited from the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin and played a “key role in furthering Russia’s malign activities,” according to an affidavit filed as part of the seizure order. He is said to have funneled US funds through American financial institutions to finance the superyacht while sanctioned without required licenses, the US said.

Superyacht Amadea
The Amadea is owned by the Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov.
FIJI SUN/AFP via Getty Images
Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov
Kerimov is a suspected money launderer.
AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko
The Fiji government seized a massive yacht worth $325 million
Fiji’s government impounded the massive $325 million yacht.
Ministry of Justice

The yacht has annual operating costs of between $25 million and $30 million, the DOJ estimates.

Kerimov is a former economist and politician whose net worth is $14.5 billion, according to Forbes. Lawyers have claimed the oligarch did not own the superyacht – but US officials believe he has owned the ship since 2021.

Although official documents said the ship was headed for the Philippines next, authorities believe its real destination was Russian waters – where the luxury liner could avoid seizure by the US.

A photo taken on April 13, 2022 shows the superyacht Amadea, said to be owned by a Russian oligarch, moored at Queens Wharf in Lautoka.
The yacht docked at Queens Wharf in Lautoka.
FIJI SUN/AFP via Getty Images
Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov
The Russian oligarch hid his fortune in Fiji.
FIJI SUN/AFP via Getty Images
The Fiji government seized a massive yacht worth $325 million
Kerimov is said to have benefited from the Kremlin through corruption and its activities.
Ministry of Justice

Amadea’s automated information system was shut down on February 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine, the Associated Press reported.

The seizure was coordinated by the Justice Department’s KleptoCapture task force, which aims to enforce US sanctions imposed in response to the war in Ukraine.

The task force also coordinated the seizure of oligarch Viktor Vekselberg’s $90 million, 255-foot Tango in Spain last month.

The Amadea is now located in Lautoka, Fiji.

With mail wires

https://nypost.com/2022/05/05/fiji-seizes-russian-oligarchs-325m-yacht-at-us-request/ Fiji seizes Russian oligarch’s $325 million yacht at US request

JACLYN DIAZ

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