Italian Police Seize World’s Largest Sailing Yacht From Russian Oligarch
Italian police seized one of the world’s largest superyachts owned by Russian billionaire Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko as part of European sanctions on Russian oligarchs following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Reuters.
The 143-meter “Sy A” – short for Sailing Yacht A – was seized Friday in the port of Trieste in Northern Italy, according to a statement from Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s office.
Video footage of Italian police entering the world’s largest sail-assisted motor yacht (valued at $578mln) appeared on Twitter early Saturday morning.
Italy’s financial police (@GDF) has just frozen “SY A” – a sailing yacht worth ~€530m located in the Port of Trieste. The yacht could be linked indirectly to Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko – an individual in the EU sanctions list. pic.twitter.com/fRg6ZTIQRH
— Ferdinando Giugliano (@FerdiGiugliano) March 12, 2022
The yacht appears to have been shifted into drydock under the control of Italian authorities.
More images from Reuters suggest Sailing Yacht A is being held by Italian police.
Russian owner, Andrey Melnichenko was placed on an EU sanctions list a few days ago.
A spokesperson has said he has no links to the conflict and no political affiliations. pic.twitter.com/o03qLZT1d1
— Joshua Stokes (@JoshuaStokesITV) March 12, 2022
Melnichenko is a Russian billionaire and owner of EuroChem Group, a top fertilizer producer, and the coal company SUEK. According to Reuters, both companies released a statement Thursday that said Melnichenko had resigned as a board member and withdrawn as their beneficiary.
A spokesperson for Melnichenko, Alex Andreev, said the Russian billionaire had “no relation to the tragic events in Ukraine. He has no political affiliations”.
“There is no justification whatsoever for placing him on the EU sanctions list,” Andreev said. “We will be disputing these baseless and unjustified sanctions, and believe that the rule of law and common sense will prevail.”
In his State of the Union address earlier this month, President Biden warned that the U.S. and Europe would “seize” the assets of Russian billionaires.
“Tonight, I say to the Russian oligarchs and the corrupt leaders who built billions off this violent regime — no more,” Biden said. “We’re coming for your ill-begotten gains.”
“So far we have hit what was visible, now we have to hit the rest such as shareholdings. We are doing a great job to bring out what is shielded by trusts and front names,” Giuseppe Zafarana, head of the Italian tax police, said in a statement on Saturday.
While authorities have said they will continue to hunt for Russian oligarch assets, we’ve written about the difficulty of linking assets to oligarchs on the sanctions list.
Sun, 03/13/2022 – 10:30