As part of the sanctions targeting powerful individuals close to the Kremlin, a full-scale operation to seize the oligarchs’ superyachts is underway.
The beautiful Amore Vero (“True Love”), property of a company linked to Igor Sechin, chief exec of Rosneft, has been seized by French authorities in the port of La Ciotat. Another superyacht, owned by metal tycoon Alisher Usmanov, has been seized by Germany, according to reports.
Roman Abramovich’s Eclipse superyacht has not been seized yet, but is in the crosshairs of several British MPs.
This operation, however, is tough. The superyacht industry is an inherently shady one, where people are told not to ask questions. Some yacht design companies have agreed to halt projects sponsored by Russian money; others are just staying put.
At least five superyachts owned by Russian oligarchs are now safe in the Maldives. More are surely cruising in that direction – and might be out of sight soon if authorities don’t act at speed.