Tuesday, September 27, 2022

US seized superyachts owned by oligarchs with close ties to Putin | Nation World News

The US government on Monday seized a mega yacht in Spain owned by an oligarch with close ties to the Russian president in a bid to “seize and freeze” giant yachts and other valuable assets of the Russian elite. was the first in the U.S.’s sanctions enforcement initiative.

The Spanish Civil Guard and US federal agents landed on the yacht at Marina Real in the port of Palma de Mallorca, capital of Spain’s Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. Associated Press reporters at the scene Monday morning saw police getting in and out of the boat.

The recovery was confirmed by two people familiar with the matter. People could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity. A Spanish Civil Guard spokesman confirmed that officials from the Spanish police body and the FBI were searching the ship on Monday morning and said further details would be released later.

A source in the Civil Guard told The Associated Press that the stabled yachts are the Tango, a 78-metre ship bearing the flag of the Cook Islands and Superyachtfan.com, a special website that lists the world’s largest and most exclusive recreational yachts. Tracks, has set its value at US$120 million. The source was also not authorized to be named in the media reports and spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Superyachtfan.com, an exclusive website that tracks the world’s largest and most exclusive recreational yachts, is worth the Tango to US$120 million. (Francisco Ubilla / The Associated Press)

According to US Treasury Department documents, Yauch is one of the assets belonging to Viktor Vekselberg, a billionaire and close aide of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who heads the Moscow-based Renova Group, which deals with metals, mining, technology and other assets. includes. All of Wexelberg’s assets are frozen in the US and US companies are prohibited from doing business with him and his entities.

first by US

The move is the first time the US government has seized an elite class yacht since Attorney General Merrick Garland and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen attempted to enforce sanctions after Russia’s invasion, known as the REPO. A task force has been assembled. Ukraine at the end of February.

Wexelberg has long had ties to the US, including a green card he once held and homes in New York and Connecticut. The Ukrainian-born businessman made his fortune by investing in the aluminum and oil industries in the post-Soviet era.

Wexelberg was also questioned in the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and has worked closely with his American cousin Andrew Intrater, who heads the New York investment management firm Columbus Nova.

Wexelberg and Intrater were brought into the limelight in the Mueller investigation after an attorney for adult film star Stormy Daniels released a memo that claimed to have been through Columbus Nova, a shell company founded by Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer. US$500,000 was paid. , Columbus Nova denied that Wexelberg played any role in his payment to Cohen.

US seized superyachts owned by oligarchs with close ties to Putin | Nation World News
A US federal agent, Kendra and two civil guards board the yacht. (Francisco Ubilla / The Associated Press)

One of several meetings between members of Trump’s inner circle and high-level Russians during the 2016 campaign and transition, Vekselberg and Intrater met with Cohen at Trump Tower.

The 64-year-old Mughal founded the Renova Group more than three decades ago. The group holds, among other investments, the largest stake in United Company Rusal, Russia’s largest aluminum producer.

Vekselberg was first sanctioned by the US in 2018, and again in March this year, shortly after the invasion of Ukraine began. Wexelberg has also been approved by authorities in the United Kingdom.

The US Justice Department has also launched a sanctions enforcement task force called KleptoCapture, which aims to enforce financial sanctions on Russia and its billionaires in the US, working with the FBI, Treasury and other federal agencies. That task force will also target financial institutions and entities that have helped oligarchs move money to evade sanctions.

The White House has said a number of allies, including Germany, the UK, France, Italy and others, are involved in trying to collect and share information against Russians targeted for sanctions. In his State of the Union address, President Joe Biden warned oligarchs that US and European allies will “find and seize your yachts, your luxury apartments, your private jets.”

“We are coming to your wrongful advantage,” he said.

other boats seized

Monday’s capture is not the first time Spanish officials have been involved in the seizure of a Russian oligarch superyacht. Officials there said they had seized a ship worth more than US$14 million owned by the CEO of a state-owned defense group and a close Putin aide.

French authorities have also confiscated the superyacht, which is believed to belong to Igor Sechin, a Putin ally who runs the Russian oil giant Rosneft, which has been a major asset for the US since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. is on the sanctions list.

Italy has also seized several yachts and other properties.

The Italian Financial Police quickly seized the superyacht Lena, belonging to Gennady Timchenko, an oligarch close to Putin, in the port of San Remo; The 65m Lady M, owned by Alexei Mordashov in nearby Imperia, has six suites and is estimated to be worth 65 million euros; As well as villas in Tuscany and Como, according to government officials.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Deskhttps://nationworldnews.com
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