US sanctions Imperial Yachts and CEO Evgeniy Kochman
The US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has added Imperial Yachts and its CEO Evgeniy Kochman to its sanctions list. It has also sanctioned Flying Fox, its largest charter yacht as well as six other yachts linked to Russians.
“Russia’s elites, up to and including President Putin, rely on complex support networks to hide, move, and maintain their wealth and luxury assets,” said Brian Nelson, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “Today’s action demonstrates that Treasury can and will go after those responsible for shielding and maintaining these ill-gotten interests. We will continue to enforce our sanctions and expose the corrupt systems by which President Putin and his elites enrich themselves.”
In a statement OFAC accuses Imperial Yachts of being a “Kremlin-aligned yacht brokerage.”
Founded in Monaco in 2004 by Kochman, Imperial Yachts specialises in managing yachts larger than 50 metres. Many of its customers are Russian. Yacht professionals in Monaco believe that many of Imperial Yachts’ senior management team are now in Dubai.
“Like all leaders in our business, we have gone through a recent period where the yacht industry has been subjected to inquiries from some authorities, but over the past few months, Imperial Yachts has been targeted by numerous unfounded and inaccurate accusations following events that are unrelated to this family-owned company and its services,” said Imperial Yachts in a statement. “The accusations made against us by the US government and in the press are false. We will pursue all available legal remedies to resolve this matter promptly.”
OFAC has also named four other companies which it says are connected to Kochman: OOO Nord Marine, OOO Yakht-Treid, OOO Bilding Management, and OOO Nord Marin Inzhiniring.
Imperial was the manager of the Amadea that was seized in Fiji in May. Imperial brokered the sale of the yacht in 2021. In the seizure warrant an FBI special investigator stated that the yacht is owned by Suleiman Kerimov who was sanctioned by the US in 2018.
“Imperial Yachts conducts all its businesses in full compliance with laws and regulations in all jurisdictions in which we operate. We are not involved in our clients’ financial affairs,” said Imperial Yachts. “We are in the yacht building, management, sale and charter business. That is our focus and what we do. We started this company from nothing, and now, it appears that due to our success, we are unfortunately being targeted by those who would like to bring us down.”
On Thursday Imperial Yachts was the subject of a New York Times investigation.
Imperial Yachts added: “We look forward to settling all matters resulting from this turbulent time, as well as disproving the damaging smears made against our company. As always, our focus remains on living up to our established name as an international leader in providing the highest level of excellence for yacht sales, construction, management, and chartering.”
OFAC targets seven superyachts
As well as Flying Fox, OFAC has also sanctioned motor yachts Graceful and Olympia. It says that President Putin has an ownership stake in these two yachts and has taken numerous trips onboard both. It also sanctioned Shellest and Nega, which are owned by the Russian company Non-Profit Partnership Revival of Maritime Traditions. OFAC says both yachts are linked to Putin.
Sea Rhapsody which OFAC say is owned by Andrei Kostin, CEO of VTB Bank has also been listed. OFAC identified Cayman Islands-flagged yacht, Madame Gu as blocked property because it believes Andrei Vladimirovich Skoch, the Russian billionaire and Russian Federation Duma member, has an interest.