In the latest global effort to crack down on Russian power brokers, the world’s largest yacht has been seized by German authorities over the ship’s association with a sanctioned billionaire with Kremlin ties.
Thanks to “extensive investigations”, officials were able to determine the owner of the yacht “despite being concealed at sea”, Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office said in a statement. Tweeter early Tuesday. The owner of the megaboat was determined to be Gulbakhor Ismailova, the sister of Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov, German authorities confirmed to USA TODAY.
The Office of Foreign Assets Controls “identifies Usmanov’s superyacht and aircraft as blocked property in which Usmanov has an interest,” the US Treasury Department said in a statement emailed to USA TODAY.
After police confirmed to Brussels authorities that the owner had been sanctioned, the luxury yacht, known as Dilbar, was legally requisitioned. The 15,917 tonne superyacht, which is hailed by her builder as ‘one of the most complex and challenging yachts ever built’, stands at the Port of Hamburg in Germany.
The Dilbar, named after Usmanov’s mother, is registered in the Cayman Islands and is valued at between $600 million and $735 million. The ship includes two helipads and one of the world’s largest indoor swimming pools ever installed on a yacht, according to the Treasury Department. Operating the ship costs about $60 million per year.
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The Dilbar is not the first Russian yacht to be seized by the United States and its allies as part of sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. At least 13 ships with a combined value of more than $2 billion have reportedly been seized since March 2.
The seizures are part of a directive from President Joe Biden last month that the United States and its allies would target Russian oligarchs in response to the Kremlin invasion: “We join our European allies in finding and seizing your yachts, your luxury apartments, your private jets.”
“Usmanov’s ties to the Kremlin enrich him and allow him to lead a luxurious life,” the Treasury Department statement said. The billionaire’s “vast holdings” in the Russian economy and abroad include metallurgical, mining, telecommunications and information technology industries, according to the department. He is known to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev.
“Usmanov and Putin are said to have financial ties, while Medvedev is said to have benefited from the personal use of luxurious residences controlled by Usmanov,” the department statement said. The billionaire also owns 49% of USM Holding, which did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.
The United States announced sanctions against Russian elites and their family members on March 3 to halt “direct and indirect” support for the Russian government during Putin’s invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago. month. The European Union also targeted Usmanov.
“We are demonstrating our commitment to impose enormous costs on Putin’s closest confidants and their family members and to freeze their assets in response to the brutal attack on Ukraine,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the month the latter in a statement announcing the sanctions.