Amadea first yacht for the Lisa O. Monaco Yacht Show
The long arm of US law reaches at least 7,767 miles (12,500km). Today it took control of the motor yacht Amadea, which was seized in Lautoka, Fiji just over a month ago.
In court filings, the FBI said that the 348ft (106.1m) steel and aluminium motor yacht is owned by Suleiman Kerimov. Kerimov, a Russian, was added to a US sanctions list in 2018. It says he bought the yacht when it was sold in August 2021. The FBI – and the Fijian police – say that the yacht has been involved in dollar transactions giving the US jurisdiction.
Millemarin Investments, an owner of the yacht, had fought to keep the yacht in Fiji but lost its case in the Fijian Supreme Court, following similar rulings in the High Court and the Appeal Court.
“This seizure of Suleiman Kerimov’s vessel, the Amadea, nearly 8,000 miles from Washington, DC, symbolises the reach of the Department of Justice as we continue to work with our global partners to disrupt the sense of impunity of those who have supported corruption and the suffering of so many,” said Andrew Adams, director of Task Force KleptoCapture. “This Task Force will continue to bring to bear every resource available in this unprecedented, multinational series of enforcement actions against the Russian regime and its enablers.”
It is also just the start. At our Superyacht Investor London 2022 conference, 84% of attendees said that more sanctions are likely and they have been proven right.
One thing that stands out with Kerimov’s Amadea is that the Task Force, which was only formed in March, is investigating historic cases – not just sanctions breaches following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Task Force KleptoCapture is also not just focused on yachting. Yesterday (June 6th) it filed a warrant to seize two aircraft owned by Roman Abramovich. It says that he broke export laws by flying to Russia.
“This yacht seizure should tell every corrupt Russian oligarch that they cannot hide – not even in the remotest part of the world. We will use every means of enforcing the sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war in Ukraine,” said Lisa O. Monaco, the Deputy Attorney General when the yacht was seized.
If they decide to sell all the seized yachts in one place, The Lisa O. Monaco Yacht Show has a nice ring to it.
Amadea – The story so far:
June 7th: Supreme Court Ruling
The Supreme Court of Fiji overrules High Court’s judgment, allowing authorities to seize Amadea and take it to the US.
June 1st: The New York Times article
The New York Times publishes its investigation into Imperial Yachts, the management company of Amadea. Evgeniy Kochman, owner and CEO, Imperial Yachts, was added to the international sanctions list the following day.
May 27th: Court of Appeal dismisses appeal
The Court of Appeal dismisses the appeal by Millemarin Investments on the registration of the US warrant to seize Amadea, while upholding the High Court orders granted earlier to Christopher Pryde, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
May 12th: Court of Appeal hears Millemarin’s appeal
Millemarin Investments appeals the ruling of the High Court approving the seizure of the vessel.
May 6th: Suva High Court rejects stay of execution
The Suva High Court in Fiji refused an application by Millemarin Investments for a stay of execution of a US warrant to seize the yacht. A stay of execution is a court order to suspend the implementation of a court judgment temporarily.
The Court of Appeal granted Millemarin Investments an ex parte application staying the High Court’s orders. An ex parte is when one party asks the court for an order, such as an order changing a hearing date, without the usual notice to the other parties involved, typically to give them time to prepare an opposition.
May 5th: Amadea yacht seized
Fijian law enforcement seized Amadea following the High Court’s approval of the warrant.
May 3rd: High Court grants warrant
Suva High Court Justice, Deepthi Amaratunga, granted the US warrant to seize the vessel.
Suva High Court gives Pryde (DPP), a day to respond to Millemarin Investments application for an interim stay of execution of the court.
April 25th: Justice Deepthi Amaratunga hears the case in Suva High Court
Pryde (DPP), appears before Suva High Court, requesting Amadea be ordered to remain in Fijian waters.
April 19th: The US formally asks Fiji to seize the yacht
Pryde, (DPP), files a summons in the High Court, asking that the Amadea is stopped from leaving Fiji and asking for the US warrant to be registered.
April 13th: FBI identifies yacht to be owned by sanctioned Suleiman Kerimov
The FBI states that the yacht is owned by sanctioned Russian, Suleiman Kerimov and requests a warrant for the seizure of property subject to forfeiture.
April 6th: Lisa O. Monaco, Deputy Attorney General, delivers remarks on enforcement actions to disrupt and prosecute Russian criminal activity
She said: “As Russia and its aggression continues, we have our eyes on every yacht and jet, we have our eyes on every piece of art and real estate purchased with dirty money and on every Bitcoin wallet, filled with the proceeds of theft and other crimes. Together with our partners around the world, our goal is to ensure that sanctioned Russian oligarchs and cybercriminals will not find safe haven.”
March 2nd: Merrick B. Garland, Attorney General, announces the launch of Task Force KleptoCapture
“The Justice Department will use all of its authorities to seize the assets of individuals and entities who violate these sanctions,” he said. “We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to investigate, arrest and prosecute those whose criminal acts enable the Russian government to continue this unjust war. Let me be clear: if you violate our laws, we will hold you accountable.”
February 24th, 2022: Russia invades Ukraine
President Vladimir Putin announces the start of a military campaign in Ukraine. The US, EU, and the UK add high-profile Russian oligarchs and entities to sanction lists.
2021: Amadea sold
April 2018 6th: US Treasury designates Russian oligarchs, officials, and entities to sanctions lists
Kerimov was sanctioned. Steven T. Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary, Office of Foreign Assets Control, said “Russian oligarchs and elites who profit from this corrupt system will no longer be insulated from the consequences of their government’s destabilising activities.”
2014: Imperial Yachts advises buyer on the construction of Amadea.