Fiji court orders US to seize yacht linked to Russian businessman

A court in Fiji has allowed the United States to seize the Amadea yacht, which the FBI believes is related to sanctioned Suleiman Kerimov. The defense insists that the owner of the ship is businessman Eduard Khudainatov, who is not on the sanctions list .jpg” alt=”Fiji court orders US to seize yacht linked to Russian businessman” />

Amadea superyacht in Lautoka, Fiji

The Fiji Supreme Court has ruled that the Russian-linked superyacht Amadea must be removed by the United States, as it is a “waste” for the island nation. funds needed to maintain the vessel during fission legal disputes, according to Reuters.

The Amadea yacht was detained by the Fiji police on April 14, after the 106-meter vessel entered the state's exclusive economic zone after an 18-day passage from Mexico, which it did under the flag of the Cayman Islands. The United States linked the yacht to the Russian billionaire and senator Suleiman Kerimov and sought its confiscation as part of the sanctions imposed against him.

The FBI said operating costs for a $300+ million vessel are between $25 million and $30 million a year, and the United States will pay for the upkeep of the vessel after it is confiscated. Fiji's Supreme Court allowed Amadea to be seized on a US warrant on May 3.

At the same time, Millemarin Investment Limited stated that it is the real owner of the superyacht, and Faisal Haniff, the defense lawyer representing her, asked the court to stay the decision pending an appeal against this decision. He also stated in court that the yacht is not related to Kerimov, but belongs to another Russian businessman— to the owner of «NNK-Oil» Eduard Khudainatov.

The Fiji government paid for the maintenance of the yacht while the appeal was pending in court.

On Tuesday, June 7, the Supreme Court ruled that the public interest requires that the yacht “sail out of Fiji waters” because its parking “is costly to the government of Fiji.” The court also indicated that the yacht entered the waters of the state without proper permission, in the hope, probably, of avoiding criminal prosecution by the United States.

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“Issues relating to money laundering and property rights” must be resolved in the US court that initiated the proceedings, the Fiji Supreme Court indicated. Faisal Haniff, a lawyer for Millemarin Investment Limited, declined to comment on the verdict to Reuters.

RBC sent a request to Khudainatov's representative.

Since February 24, when President Vladimir Putin announced the start of a military special operation in Ukraine, Western countries have imposed numerous sanctions against Russia. Already on March 2, the US Department of Justice announced the creation of a multi-agency task force, KleptoCapture, tasked with enforcing sanctions and export restrictions against Russia, as well as combating “corrupt Russian oligarchs.” The group will explore ways to circumvent US anti-money laundering and anti-money laundering laws and search for their assets.

German shipbuilder Lürssen's website reports that Amadea's yacht was built at a shipyard in Hamburg. Its length— 106 m, there are eight cabins on board, 36 people are engaged in the maintenance of the vessel. The Superyacht Fan portal estimates the cost of the yacht at $ 325 million, and calls it an “unknown billionaire” as its owner.

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