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Germany seizes superyacht Dilbar, linked to sanctioned oligarch Usmanov: NPR


The luxury superyacht Dilbar sails off Monaco in 2017.

Valery Hache/AFP via Getty Images


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Valery Hache/AFP via Getty Images

Germany seizes superyacht Dilbar, linked to sanctioned oligarch Usmanov: NPR

The luxury superyacht Dilbar sails off Monaco in 2017.

Valery Hache/AFP via Getty Images

German authorities have seized the world’s largest yacht by volume after determining that a Russian oligarch had transferred ownership to his sister – who also faces Western sanctions.

Dilbar, the yacht in question, is approximately 511 feet and 15,917 tons, which according to shipbuilder Lurssen makes it the largest motor yacht in the world in terms of gross tonnage. It has two helipads and one of the largest indoor swimming pools ever installed on a yacht, according to the US Treasury Department, which estimates its value at between $600 million and $735 million.

The superyacht is named after the mother of its original owner: Alisher Usmanov, one of Russia’s richest billionaires and a known close associate of the Russian president. Usmanov was sanctioned by the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Switzerland in March, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

german federal police tweeted Wednesday that he discovered, “through thorough investigations despite the concealment at sea”, that the yacht is currently owned by Usmanov’s sister, Gulbakhor Ismailova. Authorities seized the yacht, which remains in the port of Hamburg, after confirming in Brussels that its owner is subject to sanctions.

Ismailova was sanctioned by the UK on Wednesday and the EU last week. Both entities said Usmanov indirectly transferred assets to his sister, including leaving her as Dilbar’s sole beneficial owner.

“The owner of the yacht ‘Dilbar’ is Navis Marine Ltd. (Cayman Islands), whose shareholder is Almenor Holdings Ltd. (Cyprus). All shares of this holding company are held by PomerolCapital SA (Switzerland) in trust for the benefit of “The Sisters Trust,” EU officials explained, adding that Usmanov had not been a shareholder in that trust company since 2017.

Ismailova has also been linked to luxury real estate in Italy and Latvia associated with Usmanov, the EU said, and has therefore “actively supported materially or financially the Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea and the destabilization of Ukraine”.

Dilbar made headlines in early March when Hamburg officials denied conflicting reports that they had seized the superyacht and said any such decision would have to come from higher federal customs authorities.

According to Boat International, Dilbar is also the fourth longest yacht in the world. It can accommodate up to 96 crew members as well as 24 guests in a large living space, which includes fold-out balconies, an onboard garden (with “a specially developed variety of grass that tolerates salty air”) and over 1,000 made sofa cushions.

This story originally appeared in the morning edition live blog.




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