Italian Authorities Seek To Seize Megayacht Allegedly Belonging To Vladimir Putin
As the international media continues to obsess over the fates of yachts and mega-yachts allegedly belonging to Russian oligarchs, one case, in particular, has captivated Italian authorities: a mega-yacht docked at a Tuscan marina that – rumor has it – belongs to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
For those who live, work and play at the Tuscan resort of Marina di Carrara, the conspicuous yacht is impossible to ignore.
Christened the Scheherazade, it dwarfs all other vessels berthed at a luxury yachting workshop at the marina. According to the FT, the 140-meter ship boasts six deck levels, two helicopter pads, a swimming pool and and possibly even an anti-drone defense system – what would be a truly unusual feature.
Italian authorities have already seized yachts and properties belonging to certain oligarchs subject to EU sanctions. And while Italy’s Guardia di Finanza told the FT that it’s investigating the provenance of the Scheherazade, they have yet to find conclusive proof linking it to President Putin.
Still, their suspicions linger, while the locals gossip.
“It’s talk of the town – it’s sensational,” said retired boat welder Walter Ciancianoni, 67, who for decades worked on luxury yachts, including one owned by Ivana Trump, ex-wife of former US president Donald Trump. “Everyone who passes by stops to look at it..everyone wonders what’s inside: maybe gold handles, or extra-luxury rooms. Who knows what will happen: will it be impounded or remain in circulation?”
Tracing the ownership of the yacht has been difficult because of its ownership structure, as the true beneficiary is shrouded in a maze of shell corporations.
According to documents seen by the Financial Times, the yacht is nominally owned by Beilor Asset Limited, an entity based in the Marshall Islands. However, a Guardia di Finanza official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the FT that it was difficult to establish Beilor’s true beneficiary. “It is unclear whether the property is Putin’s or any other Russian oligarch’s because of the complicated company structure these individuals set up to shield their assets,” the official said.
However, if Italian authorities can find a pretext to seize the yacht, it would roughly double the value of assets seized so far: Italian authorities estimate they have so far frozen around €800 million (nearly $880 million) worth of assets belonging to sanctioned oligarchs so far. Seizing the Scheherazade would add another $700 million to that total.
Sun, 03/27/2022 – 07:35