Fiji judge rules US can seize Russian oligarch’s superyacht


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A Fiji High Court judge ruled this week that the United States could seize a $325 million superyacht owned by a Russian oligarch docked in a port in Lautoka.

A previous order that prevented the United States from moving the yacht after it filed a warrant will remain in place until at least Friday to allow the defense to argue that the boat actually belongs to another Russian oligarch who does not not subject to sanctions, Suva High Court Judge Deepthi Amaratunga said on Tuesday.

Fijian authorities believe the yacht called Amadea, which has been moored there since April 13, belongs to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ally Suleiman Kerimov, who faces US sanctions. The yacht is owned by Eduard Khudainatov, who does not face sanctions, the defense argued. .

On Friday, Amaratunga will decide whether or not to continue the stay on the seizure of the yacht.

US SEIZES YACHT OWNED BY OLIGARCH WITH STRONG LINKS TO PUTIN

FILE – Superyacht Amadea is moored at Queens Wharf in Lautoka, Fiji, April 15, 2022. A judge in Fiji has ruled US authorities can seize the Russian-owned superyacht – but has suspended its order until at least Friday , on May 6, while the defense lawyers mount a recusal. (Leon Lord/Fiji Sun via AP, file)
(Leon Lord/Fiji Sun via AP, file)

Kerimov was first sanctioned by the United States in 2018 for alleged money laundering and faced new sanctions after Russia invaded Ukraine.

The boat is registered in the Cayman Islands and is owned by Millemarin Investments Ltd., also based in the Cayman Islands. The United States maintains that Kerimov is the true owner of Amadea, but ownership may be difficult to determine due to the murky trail of trusts and shell companies.

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LR: Dagestan Governor Sergei Melikov, Russian billionaire, businessman and Federation Council member Suleiman Kerimov and Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin attend a presentation at Naryn Kala Castle, April 14, 2021, in Derbent, in Dagestan, Russia.

LR: Dagestan Governor Sergei Melikov, Russian billionaire, businessman and Federation Council member Suleiman Kerimov and Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin attend a presentation at Naryn Kala Castle, April 14, 2021, in Derbent, in Dagestan, Russia.
(Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

Fiji has also argued that it should not have to determine ownership of the vessel knowing it would be linked to a money laundering case in the United States, Reuters reported.

After the yacht sailed to Fiji from Mexico without customs clearance, local authorities banned her from leaving due to the US warrant.

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“We continue to increase the pressure on Putin’s oligarchs and we are working with allies and partners to pursue the corrupt gains of some of the individuals closest to Putin, no matter where in the world they are detained,” he said. said the US Embassy in Suva. .

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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