Oligarchs’ superyachts: The net begins to close


The net is beginning to close on some Russian oligarch’s superyachts, as sanctions imposed by the US, EU, UK and other nations begin to bite. Two vessels were seized in Europe and others are relocating to countries with no US extradition treaty, according to media reports. This follows US president Joe Biden’s State of the Union pledge to “go after the crimes of Russian oligarchs” by seizing “your yachts, your luxury apartments, your private jets”.

France’s finance minister Bruno Le Maire revealed the authorities had seized a superyacht linked to oil company Rosneft boss, Igor Sechin, in the Southern French port of La Ciotat, an informed source confirmed to Superyacht Investor.

Le Maire said on Monday (February 28th): “At the request of the president, we are continuing a full survey of the financial assets, real estate, yachts and luxury vehicles (in France) which belong to Russian personalities targeted by European sanctions,” according to the publication The Local.

France is also identifying the property of other Russians who might be targeted by further rounds of sanctions “because of their proximity with the Russian government”, he added.

Yesterday Forbes reported that the German authorities had seized the $600m superyacht Dilbar – owned by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov. But the Germany authorities subsequently denied that the 156m (512-foot) yacht had been confiscated in a shipyard in the German port city. “No yachts have been confiscated,” a spokesperson for Hamburg’s economic authority told The Guardian.

According to The Times, superyachts owned by Russians have been tracked to the Maldives and Montenegro, as their owners seek countries where they believe their assets will be protected.

Earlier this week, the US president warned in his State of the Union Address: “The US Department of Justice is assembling a dedicated task force to go after the crimes of Russian oligarchs. We are joining with our European allies to find and seize your yachts, your luxury apartments, your private jets. We are coming for your ill-begotten gains.”

Up to one-in-10 superyachts in the global fleet can be attributed to Russian ownership, Paul Jebely, Withers Worldwide, global head of Asset Finance, told Superyacht Investor’s Town Hall dedicated to the impact of sanctions. You can listen to the Town Hall again here. Today’s online meeting was sponsored by superyacht specialist HFW.

Also taking part were : Janine Alexander, Collyer Bristow, partner, Quentin Bargate, Bargate Murray, founder and CEO and Robb Maass, Alley, Maass, Rodgers & Lindsay, a shareholder who heads the firm’s Maritime department.

Meanwhile, if you would like to know more about sanctions and their impact on private jets, please check our new service Semaphore Intel – which uses open-source intelligence to protect investor’s time, business and reputation.