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U.S. seizes Russian oligarch’s $325 million superyacht in Fiji

June 7, 2022, 2:33 PM UTC

U.S. officials zoomed out of Fiji in a seized Russian oligarch’s yacht Tuesday after an appeals court in the South Pacific nation lifted a stay order which had prevented them from taking possession of the vessel.

The $325 million superyacht had become a point of contention over the past month as legal officials in Fiji debated America’s authority to seize the yacht, which is named the Amadea. The nation’s Supreme Court, however, ruled that the chances of defense lawyers mounting an appeal that the top court would hear were “nil to very slim,” adding that the Amadea entered Fiji without a permit, “most probably to evade prosecution by the United States of America.”

The FBI has linked the Amadea to Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov. The 348-foot-long superyacht includes a helipad, a live lobster tank, a swimming pool, and a pizza oven.

Defense attorneys argued the vessel belonged to another wealthy Russian, Eduard Khudainatov, who is not subject to sanctions. U.S. officials conceded the paperwork showed Khudainatov’s name, but said he was also the paper owner of an even larger superyacht that is suspected to belong to Vladimir Putin—and questioned if he had the finances to afford two yachts with a combined total of more than $1 billion.

The seizure of the Amadea comes days after officials found another $300 million superyacht owned by oligarch Andrey Melnichenko in a creek in Ras al-Khaimah, located in the northern part of the United Arab Emirates.

Authorities have had a good deal of luck seizing superyachts from oligarchs since the invasion. The U.S. also captured a $120 million vessel in April.

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