In a worldwide search for Russian-owned superyachts, British authorities identified and arrested one owned by a Russian national worth 38 million pounds (US$50 million).
According to a National Crime Agency (NCA) press release, this is the first superyacht to be conducted in UK waters. The discovery of Superyachts is the result of a multi-agency effort, involving the NCA’s Anti-Kleptocracy Cell and the Border Force’s Office of Maritime Intelligence.
“Today we confiscated a £38 million superyacht and turned the symbol of Russian power and wealth into a stern warning to Putin and his allies,” Secretary of State Grant Shapps said. British Transport.
The vessel is the third largest ship built by Royal Huisman, a reputed yacht manufacturing company based in FEI, Netherlands. Onboard amenities include an overflow cargo hold and a freshwater swimming pool.
According to the NCA, the ship is registered in St. Kitts and Nevis and flies the Maltese flag to cover its origins.
On Wednesday, the Financial Times (FT) identified the owner of Superyacht as Vitaly Vasilievich Kochetkov. Kochetkov is the founder of Motive Telecom, a small mobile phone network operating in the Ural region.
In addition to owning FEI, Kochetkov also owns another superyacht, Aurelia, currently located in Porto di Imperia, Italy. It also sports a Maltese flag.
British law enforcement had previously reported detaining the vessel as part of sanctions against Russia, but Kochetkov is not on any sanctions lists. He did not name the yacht’s owner, saying only that the ship belonged to a “Russian businessman”.
A government source in the FT claims that the yacht was once owned by a man named Sergei Georgievich Naumenko.
The FT notes that, contrary to the government’s claims that the FEI boss was close to Putin, Kochetkov was in serious trouble with the Russian authorities. In early 2021, a criminal case was opened in Russia against the parent company of the telecommunications group Motiv Ekaterinburg-2000 for tax evasion.
A member of the yacht’s crew told the FT that shortly after police arrived on the yacht, British Transport Minister Grant Shepps arrived with TV reporters. He said his comments were “turning heads” by Sheps and that his claim that the Maltese discovery of the ship was part of an attempt to hide ownership was “just plain silly”.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, assets have been confiscated around the world, including boats owned by Russian oligarchs.
In early March, the OCCRP reported a wave of confiscated boats.
France has seized superyacht Amore Vero, which belonged to former Russian politician and current CEO of Russian state company Rosneft. Igor Sechin.
Around the same time, German authorities identified a yacht in Hamburg belonging to Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov.
Sanctions enforced by the US, UK, EU and Canada have targeted Russian officials, businessmen and entities. As soon as the sanctions list was announced, the Russian tycoon’s superyachts headed for the Maldives and Seychelles.
These sanctions are already having an impact on the Russian economy and a large number of nations and companies are terminating their trade relations with the Russian Federation.
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