A $300 million yacht owned by Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov was seized by Fiji authorities on Thursday at the request of the US Department of Justice.
“Fiji law enforcement has issued a seizure order to freeze the motor yacht Amadea (the Amadea), a 348-foot luxury vessel owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov,” said a Justice Department press release.
The Fijian authorities cooperating with the FBI were following a seizure order issued by Washington “determining that the Amadea has been confiscated on the probable cause of violations of US law, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), money laundering money and conspiracy,” the statement said.
“Kerimov and those acting on his behalf ensured that US dollar transactions were routed through US financial institutions for the support and maintenance of the Amadea.”
The seizure was orchestrated by the Justice Department’s Task Force KleptoCapture, an interdepartmental law enforcement task force headed by the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, aimed at enforcing “the sweeping sanctions, export controls and economic countermeasures imposed by the United States, along with its foreign allies and partners, in response to Russia’s unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine.”
Kerimov has been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which identified him as “part of a group of Russian oligarchs who are taking advantage of the Russian government through corruption and its malicious activities around the world, including the occupation of the Crimea,” the president said. Ministry of Justice added.
In doing so, the Treasury also identified him as an official of the Government of the Russian Federation and a member of the Russian Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament. He is the owner of Nafta Moscow, a Russian financial group. Kerimov and his family have an estimated net worth of $9.8 billion, according to the European Union.
The UK has also sanctioned Kerimov for his decision to vote in favor of laws endorsing President Putin’s decision to recognize Ukraine’s breakaway eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states.
He was also placed on the EU’s sanctions list for attending a meeting of oligarchs in the Kremlin with Vladimir Putin on February 24 to discuss the impact of the course of action in the wake of Western sanctions. The EU argued that Kerimov’s presence at said meeting shows that he is “a member of the inner circle of oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin and that he supports or carries out actions or policies that undermine the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.” undermine or threaten, as well as stability and security in Ukraine.”
US Attorney General Merrick Garland stressed that the US court ruling should “make it clear that there is no hiding place for the assets of individuals who violate US laws.”
“This hunting seizure should tell any corrupt Russian oligarch that they cannot hide – even in the most remote part of the world. We will use all means to enforce the sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war in Ukraine,” US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco warned.