Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The US tried to seize the yacht in Fiji. But which oligarch owns it?

WELLINGTON, New Zealand ( Associated Press) – A judge in Fiji is due to rule on Tuesday whether US officials can seize the luxurious superyacht Amadea – which is worth about $325 million – which is known to be in the South because of its ties with Russia. The Pacific nation has been barred from leaving.

But a key question remains which elite class actually owns Amedia. Of the two potential candidates, only one faces sanctions.

Is the real owner Suleiman Kerimov? Such is the claim of America.

Economist and former Russian politician Kerimov was cleared of alleged money laundering by the US in 2018 and has faced further sanctions from Canada, Europe and Britain after Russia invaded Ukraine. Kerimov invested in Russian gold producer Polyus, with Forbes magazine putting his net worth at $14.5 billion.

Or is the real owner Eduard Khudainatov? This is the claim of defense lawyers.

Khudinatov is the former chairman and chief executive of state-controlled Russian oil and gas company Rosneft. Importantly, Khudainatov does not currently face any sanctions, unlike many oligarchs and close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who have been sanctioned since the war began.

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Like many superyachts, it is difficult to determine the actual ownership of Amadia due to unclear traces of trusts and shell companies. On paper, Superyacht is registered in the Cayman Islands and owned by Millmarin Investments Limited, based in the Cayman Islands.

Defense lawyers have claimed in court that Millemarin Investments Ltd. (sometimes spelled Millmarine) is the legal owner of the vessel and the company is associated with the real, or beneficial, owner, Khudnatov. But US officials have claimed that the real owner behind all the various fronts is Kerimov.

On 19 April, after the yacht sailed from Mexico to Fiji, the High Court in Suva ordered that Amadea would not leave Fiji until a US warrant for confiscation of the ship was determined. Perhaps reflecting the question of ownership, the court later ordered Fiji prosecutors to amend an original subpoena, which had named Kerimov only to include Millmarin Investments Ltd as the second defendant in the case. .

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For now, the yacht continues to sit in the Fijian port, with about 25 crew on and off the ship, while a police officer remains on board to make sure it remains.

According to Boat International, Amadia is 106 meters long and was built in 2017. It features a stainless steel albatross that protrudes from the bow and weighs more than 5 tons, a live lobster tank in the galley, a 10-metre (33- ft) pool, a hand-painted play piano and a Big helipad.

The US embassy in Suva said in a statement that the US was working with allies and partners around the world to impose costs on Russia because of its “war of choice”.

The embassy said, “We continue to pressure Putin’s oligarchs and we are working with allies and partners to seek corrupt advantages from some of Putin’s close people, wherever they are around the world.” ”

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Nation World News Desk
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