The UK seized a £38m Russian-owned super yacht in Canary Wharf, transport secretary Grant Shapps said today.
Officers from the National Crime Agency issued a detention order after they uncovered the owner’s identity despite it being “deliberately well hidden.”
Named Phi, the vessel was built in the Netherlands and carried a Maltese flag while the figurehead company owning it was based in St Kitts and Nevis.
The vessel is the first to be detained following the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Today we’ve detained a £38m super yacht and turned an icon of Russia’s power and wealth into a clear and stark warning to Putin and his cronies,” said Shapps in a statement.
“Detaining the Phi proves, yet again, that we can and will take the strongest possible action against those seeking to benefit from Russian connections.”
The vessel’s owner was not subjected to UK sanctions but the seizure was legal under Shapps’s regulation that bans “ALL ships with ANY Russian connection whatsoever from entering British ports.”
Commenting on the operation, NCA’s director Andy Devine said the government agency played a “a vital role in targeting suspect assets, pursuing enablers of illicit wealth and supporting government partners in the delivery of the response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
As part of the UK Government’s crackdown on Putin’s allies, the Department for Transport detained last week two private jets belonging to oil tycoon Eugene Shvidler, City A.M. reported.
“Putin’s friends who made millions out of his regime will not enjoy luxuries whilst innocent people die,” the secretary tweeted on Saturday, after announcing the two planes, impounded at Farnborough and Biggin Hill airports, would be “detained indefinitely.”