The US wants a Russian oligarch’s seized $300 million superyacht that features an infinity pool, a movie theater, and a helicopter landing pad

The $300 million megayacht Amadea, which US authorities seized and say is owned by a sanctioned Russian oligarch, seen here docked in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The $300 million superyacht Amadea, which US authorities seized and say is owned by a sanctioned Russian oligarch, seen here docked in Honolulu, Hawaii.

  • The US has filed a civil forfeiture case against a $300 million superyacht it alleges is owned by a Russian oligarch.
  • The 348-foot luxury ship Amadea was bought by billionaire Suleiman Kerimov in September 2021, years after he was sanctioned, US officials say.
  • Eduard Khudainatov, another Russian oligarch, filed legal papers saying he owns the superyacht instead. 

Federal attorneys want to have a Russian oligarch’s $300 million superyacht forfeited to the US, over a year after it was first seized by Fiji authorities after the war with Ukraine broke out.

US Attorney Damian Williams on Monday filed a civil forfeiture complaint against the Amadea, an extravagant 348-foot-long luxury ship that US officials allege is owned by billionaire Suleiman Kerimov.

The Amadea features a helicopter pad on its foredeck, a mosaic-lined swimming pool at the rear, fire pits, and an indoor movie theater, according to CharterWorld Luxury Yacht Charters.

Kerimov was initially sanctioned in 2018 over his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Williams wrote in court filings. Yet in 2021, he worked out a deal to buy the yacht through a series of corporate entities to obscure who owned the vessel and violated sanctions by having more than $1 million in maintenance work done on the ship, the court documents allege.

The yacht was initially seized by Fiji authorities after it raced into the Pacific Ocean when the war with Ukraine broke out, according to a BBC report published in November 2022.

US prosecutor Andrew Adams told the BBC that authorities noticed the vessel “scrambling out of waters where we would normally be able to seize it” just weeks after Russian forces invaded Ukraine.

“Essentially, the boat tried to go dark,” Adams said in an interview.

The BBC reported that US officials believed the ship was going to race for Vladivostok, a Russian port near North Korea, when it was seized in Fiji.

The ship was then seized by the US Department of Justice and moved to California where it remains docked.

However, lawyers for a separate Russian oligarch claiming to own the yacht — Eduard Khudainatov, who hasn’t been sanctioned — filed legal papers in a Fiji court last year, seeking to have the boat turned back over.

Khudainatov’s lawyers told Bloomberg that they’ve filed a lawsuit in San Diego, California as well seeking to get the superyacht back. 

A representative for Khudainatov’s lawyers referred Insider to the filing. 

The legal wrangling surrounding the Amadea underscores the challenges over determining the actual owner of a superyacht due to a complex ownership structure that could include shell companies, Insider reported in March last year.

It also prolongs the process of determining the next steps surrounding the yachts — which are sitting around and racking up millions of dollars in annual maintenance fees.

In April last year, the US Justice Department estimated the yacht’s running costs mount up to between $25 million and $30 million a year. 

The US complaint against the Amadea on Monday marks the latest development over the seizure of Russian assets after Moscow invaded Ukraine. 

Forbes estimated in April that Western countries have frozen or seized at least 15 superyachts linked to sanctioned Russian billionaires. 

Seized yachts include the $120 million Alfa Nero that has been docked in the small Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda since February last year and the $735 million Dilbar, which has been impounded in Germany.

Governments that have seized Russian property are seeking to take over their ownership — and this would require authorities to prove that the assets were part of a crime. They are considering using the interest generated from frozen Russian assets to help rebuild Ukraine.

October 24, 12.06 a.m. EDT: This story has been updated to include details of the Fiji complaint and adds background information on seized Russian yachts.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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