Seized Russian yacht put up for auction


A 93m (305ft) superyacht that was seized in Croatia due to its ties to a pro-Kremlin politician is set to go up for auction.

The $220m (£63m) Feadship superyacht, Royal Romance, was seized onMarch 16th this year in Rijeka, Croatia. Its owner, Viktor Medvedchuk, was arrested in Ukraine on  April 14th as he was a banned pro-Kremlin politician. The personal friend of Vladimir Putin was later handed over to Russia in a prisoner exchange.

The Agency for Investigation and Management of Assets (ARMA), a branch of the National Agency of Ukraine, carried out an inspection of the yacht between November 13th and 22nd. After the inspection and negotiations with representatives of the port, local law enforcement and the Ministry of Justice of Croatia, ARMA took on management of the yacht and made the decision to auction it to “preserve the economic value”.

The yacht is one of the biggest in the world, and with six floors stands at 29m (95ft) tall. The vessel has two elevators, four decks, a cinema, gym, swimming pool, spa area and cabins for 14 guests and 21 crew. It was searched earlier in November by order of Split’s County Court. Judge Dinko Mešin issued a search warrant on November 15th  at the request of the US Department of Justice, according to Croatian daily newspaper Jutarnji list.

In a report, ARMA stressed that the was without precedent. “It should be emphasised that the management of seized property, which is within the limits of foreign jurisdiction, is a unique situation and has no [precedent] not only in Ukraine but also in international practice,” it said.

In August, Axioma became the first seized yacht belonging to a sanctioned individual set to be publicly sold since sanctions were imposed earlier this year. The yacht, which belonged to Russian oligarch Dmitry Pumpyansky, was seized in Gibraltar and was sold for $37.5m to an undisclosed buyer. However, the auction of Royal Romance will be the first sale on behalf of the people of Ukraine.

Royal Romance was delivered to an undisclosed buyer in the Netherlands in July 2015. It appeared on a Superyacht Investor list of seized yachts in April this year.