France just seized a $120 million superyacht owned by the ‘Darth Vader’ oligarch of Putin’s Russia

March 3, 2022, 6:24 PM UTC

France has seized a 280-foot superyacht owned by a Russian oligarch.

“Thank you to the French customs officers who enforce the sanctions of the European Union against those close to the Russian authorities,” France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire wrote in a tweet

The yacht belonged to Igor Sechin​​—chief executive of Russian oil producer Rosneft, who has been previously dubbed “Darth Vader” by Russian media. It was seized as it tried to leave the Mediterranean port of La Ciotat in a breach of European Union sanctions on Russian oligarchs, Reuters reported. The yacht, Amore Vero, is estimated to be worth $120 million, according to the website, and allegedly houses a swimming pool that turns into a helipad, as well as multiple decks including one with a Jacuzzi.

The seizure of the Amore Vero comes as Western nations are rapidly enforcing severe sanctions against Russia’s wealthy elite, including asset freezes and the confiscation of status symbols like yachts and jets, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Sechin was at the very top of a list, published Feb. 28 by the European Union, of Russian oligarchs who would be subject to sanctions. He is one of President Vladimir Putin’s most trusted and closest advisers, as well as his personal friend, according to the EU, which called Sechin’s connections to Putin “long and deep.” Sechin’s net worth is unknown, but in 2015 Reuters reported that he was earning a minimum of $295,000 to $390,000 per month as chief of Rosneft.

Sechin was previously sanctioned by the U.S. in 2014, according to the U.S. Treasury Department. He said he considered the move an endorsement of his effectiveness at Rosneft, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Sechin did not immediately reply to Fortune’s request for comment. 

Sechin is not the only member of the Russian elite who got a yacht seized this week. In a separate incident, German authorities seized a $594 million luxury yacht—the world’s largest by volume—owned by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, on Wednesday. Usmanov has a net worth of $14.2 billion, according to Forbes

Usmanov was identified by the EU last month as “one of Vladimir Putin’s favorite oligarchs.” 

President Biden vowed in his speech on Feb. 24 that the U.S. would make sure people who personally gained from the Kremlin’s policies “share in the pain.” And so far, the Russian elite in Putin’s inner circle have started to feel the effects of European sanctions, one yacht at a time. 

Never miss a story: Follow your favorite topics and authors to get a personalized email with the journalism that matters most to you.