Customized officers in France have seized a yacht belonging to Rosneft boss Igor Sechin because it tried to go away the Mediterranean port of La Ciotat in a breach of European Union sanctions on Russian oligarchs, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire mentioned.
The incident got here as Western states are quickly implementing extreme sanctions, together with asset freezes, towards Russia for invading its neighbour Ukraine.
The 88-metre (289-foot) “Amore Vero” arrived in La Ciotat on January 3 and was as a result of keep there till April 1 for repairs, the finance ministry mentioned in a press release on Thursday, including that the vessel was topic to the brand new sanctions.
However on Wednesday, customs officers famous the yacht was “taking steps to sail off urgently, with out the restore works being over”, the assertion mentioned, including that the officers due to this fact determined to grab it.
The finance ministry mentioned the yacht belongs to an organization whose most important shareholder is Sechin, a detailed ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
It didn’t title the corporate.
Monaco-based Imperial Yachts, which based on Refinitiv knowledge is linked to Amore Vero, informed Reuters information company the yacht was owned by a agency known as Kazimo, which appointed them as managers of the boat in 2018.
“The person you title isn’t related with both Kazimo nor the yacht,” a consultant for Imperial Yachts informed Reuters when requested about Sechin.
“Kazimo’s attorneys are in contact with French Douane with a purpose to appropriate the file,” they mentioned.
The finance ministry didn’t instantly return a request for remark.
The superyacht was constructed by Oceanco within the Netherlands and delivered to its proprietor in 2013, based on yachtcharterfleet.com, which says its on-board options embody a magnificence salon and fitness center. It sails underneath the flag of the Cayman Islands, based on Eikon knowledge.
Sechin is seen as considered one of Russia’s strongest males who has labored with Putin for the reason that Nineties once they each labored within the Saint Petersburg mayor’s workplace.
French authorities on Thursday additionally seized a Russian-owned cargo vessel on the port of Lorient, Brittany.
The EU, the USA and the UK have introduced sanctions towards Russian tycoons who’re intently related to Putin.
These included sanctions towards Sechin, pipeline boss Nikolay Tokarev, bankers Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven and others.
Paris has mentioned it’s drawing up an inventory of property in France owned by oligarchs, together with yachts and luxurious vehicles, with the southern Rivera shoreline lengthy being a magnet for the wealthy and well-known.
“If I had been an oligarch, in Russia or France, I’d be nervous,” French International Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian mentioned on Monday.
US President Joe Biden has additionally tasked the Division of Justice with assembling a job power “to search out and seize their yachts, their luxurious flats their personal jets”.
In the meantime, not less than 5 superyachts owned by Russian billionaires had been anchored or cruising within the Maldives, an Indian Ocean island nation that has no extradition treaty with the US, ship monitoring knowledge confirmed.
The superyacht Clio, owned by Oleg Deripaska, the founding father of aluminium big Rusal who was sanctioned by the USA in 2018, was anchored off the Maldives capital Male on Wednesday, based on delivery database MarineTraffic.
The Titan, owned by Alexander Abramov, a co-founder of Russian metal producer Evraz, arrived on February 28.
Three different yachts owned by Russian oligarchs had been seen cruising in Maldives waters on Wednesday, the information confirmed. They included the 88-metre Nirvana, owned by Russia’s richest man, Vladimir Potanin. Many of the vessels had been final seen anchored in Center Japanese ports earlier within the 12 months.
A spokesperson for the Maldives authorities didn’t reply to a request for remark.