$700m superyacht docked in Italy may belong to Putin, say US officials

459ft vessel currently in Italian dry dock for repairs

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Saturday 12 March 2022 00:39
Comments

France seizes Russian oligarch’s yacht as EU sanctions bite

A $700m superyacht being repaired in an Italian dry dock may belong to Vladimir Putin, according to US intelligence officials.

The ownership of the 459ft Scheherazade has come under close scrutiny since Russia’s unprovoked assault on Ukraine, and the vessel could be associated with Mr Putin, intelligence officials told The New York Times.

American officials told the newspaper that no final conclusions on ownership have been made, but the link backs up a claim made by a former crew member that it was for Mr Putin’s use.

The officials say that Mr Putin keeps little of his personal wealth in his own name, instead using homes and boats that are held in the name of Russian oligarchs.

Mr Putin spent long periods during the Covid-19 pandemic in the Black Sea city of Sochi, where the Scheherazade made trips in the summers of 2020 and 2021, the officials added.

The Biden administration is investigating ownership of super yachts associated with Russian oligarchs as part of the enormous sanctions levied on Russia.

The yacht is currently undergoing repairs in the Tuscan port of Marina di Carrara.

Guy Bennett-Pearce, the Scheherazade’s captain, has denied that Mr Putin owns the yacht, or has even has put a foot onboard it.

If the US government wanted to seize the yacht out would need the help of the Italian government before it left for Russian waters.

Following US and European Union sanctions against Russia, officials impounded a 213ft yacht owned by Alexei Mordashov in Imperia, Italy and Igor Sechin’s 280-foot yacht in the French port of La Ciotat.

Under US and most European laws, the frozen assets remain owned by the oligarch but cannot be transferred or sold.

Both men will continue to own their yachts but will be prevented by authorities from moving them to pro-Russian locations.

To seize a yacht government prosecutors would have to prove that the property was part of a crime.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in