Spain seizes Russian-owned superyacht on behalf of US
Spanish law enforcement has seized the 77m (255ft) superyacht, Tango on behalf of the US Department of Justice due to its connections to sanctioned oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg.
The US alleges that Feadship-built Tango was subject to forfeiture based on violation of US bank fraud, money laundering, and sanction statutes. The yacht is now in Mallorca.
According to case documents, the investigation alleges that Vekselberg has owned Tango since 2011 and used shell companies to “obfuscate” his interest in the yacht – avoiding bank oversight into related USD transactions.
Vekselberg was sanctioned by the US on April 6th, 2018, the warrant alleges that he and those working on his behalf continued to make USD payments through US banks for the support and maintenance of Tango. This included a payment for stay at a luxury villa resort in the Maldives and mooring fees for the yacht.
“Today marks our taskforce’s first seizure of an asset belonging to a sanctioned individual with close ties to the Russian regime. It will not be the last,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Together, with our international partners, we will do everything possible to hold accountable any individual whose criminal acts enable the Russian government to continue its unjust war.”
FBI director, Christopher Wray said: “Today we announce another example of the FBI using our worldwide presence and partnerships, as well as our expertise and experience, to track and seize illicit money and assets, to counter threats to our safety and national security. We will continue to use every lawful tool to go after designated Russian oligarchs’ assets – however and wherever they hide them.”
Tango, International Maritime Organisation no:1010703, is believed to be worth about $90m.
Separately, seizure warrants were also obtained in the US that target approximately $625,000 associated with several Russian specially designated nationals held at nine US financial institutions.