Mon. Feb 26th, 2024
alert-–-doj-moves-on-the-‘russian-gatsby’:-us-looks-to-claim-mysterious-putin-crony’s-$300-million-superyacht-‘amadea’-–-as-the-west-ramps-up-sanctions-on-the-billionaire-oligarchAlert – DOJ moves on the ‘Russian Gatsby’: US looks to claim mysterious Putin crony’s $300 MILLION superyacht ‘Amadea’ – as the West ramps up sanctions on the billionaire oligarch

The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit to seize a $300million superyacht belonging to a oligarch known as the ‘Russian Gatsby.’

Filed in federal court in New York, the civil forfeiture claim comes amid rising tensions between the US and Moscow, and a series of ramped-up sanctions against people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The owner of the boat, 57-year-old energy mogul Suleiman Kerimov, fits that criteria, and is worth an estimated $14billion. He has close ties to the Kremlin.

His 348-foot superyacht, called the Amadea, was already seized in Fiji last year, but feds are now looking to secure full ownership of the vessel – likely to auction it and transfer the proceeds to Ukraine.

The complaint kicks off a potentially long legal battle over the boat, which, as of Monday, is still docked in San Diego. It also puts pressure on Russia to halt its ongoing war, as another conflict in the Middle East continues to rage.

The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit to seize a $300 million superyacht belonging to 57-year-year-olf energy oligarch Suleiman Kerimov

A close friend of Putin’s, Kerimov (seen at left with the Russian president in 2019) is worth a reported $14billion, and is accused of laundering money eventually used to buy the boat

In a statement announcing the suit, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said the ship ‘was improved and maintained in violation of applicable sanctions.’

Michael Khoo, co-director of the DOJ KleptoCapture task force that seized the boat, added that the action came after ‘a careful and painstaking effort to develop the necessary evidence showing Suleiman Kerimov’s clear interest in the Amadea.’

Also looked at before making the decision, Khoo said, was ‘the repeated misuse of the U.S. financial system to support and maintain the yacht for his benefit.’

He said: ‘Getting to this point required extensive cooperation across the U.S. government and with foreign partners… [and] underscores our resolve to undertake challenging, cross-border investigations and to send a message to Russian oligarchs and their enablers.’

That message, he wrote, is simply: ‘If you flout the rule of law, you can expect to pay real and meaningful consequences.’

The boat – one of the most detailed vessels ever built – features a top deck dining area that seats up to 24, and an outdoor deck equipped with 20,000 Watts of built-in speakers.

It also boast a the cinema on the bridge deck below, and a private office on the owner’s deck, which is more reminiscent of a gentlemen’s club than a typical captain’s quarters.

In a statement announcing the suit, US Attorney Damian Williams said the ship ‘was improved and maintained in violation of applicable sanctions’ leveled back in 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine – which are now being enforced further as tensions with the US continue to rise

His 348-foot superyacht, called the Amadea, was already seized in Fiji last year, but feds are now looking to secure full ownership of the vessel – likely to auction it and transfer the proceeds to Ukraine. A photo taken on April 13, 2022 shows the boat moored in Lautoka

The boat – one of the most detailed vessels ever built – features a top deck dining area that seats up to 24, and an outdoor deck equipped with 20,000 Watts of built-in speakers

Renowned designer Espen Øino, 61, told yacht publication Boat International in 2021 how no expense was spared in its construction, which took just 31 months

It also boast a the cinema on the bridge deck below, and a private office on the owner’s deck, which is more reminiscent of a gentlemen’s club than a typical captain’s quarters

Complete with overstuffed armchairs and a hand-painted map of the world on the ceiling, the master suite also boasts a dressing room, a beauty salon and a gym

The biggest space, however, is devoted to the owner’s own private saloon, a sprawling area that comes complete with a bar and dining area.

It also features a glide path indicator to help planes and helicopters land, a hand-painted Parisian piano decked out in 24kt gold, and of course, a 10-meter pool

Michael Khoo, co-director of the DOJ KleptoCapture task force that seized the boat, added that the action came after ‘a careful and painstaking effort to develop the necessary evidence showing Suleiman Kerimov’s clear interest in the Amadea’ 

Complete with overstuffed armchairs and a hand-painted map of the world on the ceiling, the master suite also boasts a dressing room, a beauty salon and a gym. 

The biggest space, however, is devoted to the owner’s own private saloon, a sprawling area that comes complete with a bar and dining area. 

The entire boat, meanwhile, is rife with marble, rare woods, and exceptional stonework, and has its own helipad that can accommodate a craft of up to 3.5-tons.

It also features a glide path indicator to help planes and helicopters land, a hand-painted Parisian piano decked out in 24kt gold, and of course, a 10-meter pool.

Renowned designer Espen Øino, 61, told yacht publication Boat International in 2021 how no expense was spared in its construction, which took just 31 months.

At that point, it was delivered from Spain to Russia straight to Kerimov – a friend of Putin’s who has earned his literary nickname largely because he rarely does interviews and is known to indulge in the high life.

Back in 2022 – some 23 years after he won control of state-oil trader Nafta Moskva, he was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department over alleged money laundering said to have been carried out in 2018. 

The biggest space, however, is devoted to the owner’s own private saloon, a sprawling area that comes complete with a bar and dining area

The boat has its own helipad that can accommodate planes and helicopters of up to 3.5-tons

The $300 million Amadea was impounded on arrival in Fiji in April at Washington’s request

The  US initially moved to seize it due to US and European Union sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

The vessel is seen anchored to Marmaris Yacht Marina in Mugla, Turkey, on October 23, 2014

As mentioned in Monday’s complaint, feds claim to have evidence that much of the ill-gotten gains went into the boat – one of dozens of superyachts belonging to oligarchs seized in the past year-and-a-half

US Attorney Williams said: ‘The filing of this complaint exemplifies that the United States takes sanction evasion seriously and will use all tools at its disposal to ensure that sanctioned individuals are held accountable for their crimes’ 

As mentioned in Monday’s complaint, feds claim to have evidence that much of the ill-gotten gains went into the boat – one of dozens of superyachts belonging to oligarchs seized in the past year-and-a-half.

US Attorney Williams said: ‘The filing of this complaint exemplifies that the United States takes sanction evasion seriously and will use all tools at its disposal to ensure that sanctioned individuals are held accountable for their crimes.

‘I thank our partners with Task Force KleptoCapture as well as the dedicated prosecutors of this office for their important work holding Russian oligarchs responsible and aiding our allies in Ukraine.’

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