Mega yacht ‘owned by oligarch and Putin ally Igor Sechin’ seized by Spanish authorities

Crescent is the oil tycoon’s second boat to be detained since sanctions took effect

Related video: Russian billionaire’s super yacht seized in Italy

A superyacht thought to be owned by a sanctioned Russian oligarch was detained by Spanish authorities on Wednesday amid the war in Ukraine.

The £458m Crescent is said to belong to the head of Russian oil giant Rosneft, Igor Sechin.

The 135m craft was docked in the port of Tarragona, Catalonia, when officials took action, Spain’s transport ministry said.

According to the monitoring site Marine Traffic, the boat arrived in Spain from Italy in November last year and is registered in the Cayman Islands.

Mr Sechin, a close ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin, was one of many Russian billionaires sanctioned by the European Union on 28 February – including having all his assets in the bloc frozen.

The UK followed suit on 10 March, hitting the oil tycoon with asset freezes and travel bans over his supposed ties to the Kremlin. It was the same day the UK government sanctioned Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich.

Mr Sechin is considered one of the most influential oligarchs, not only because Rosneft is one of the world’s largest crude oil producers, but because he reportedly works in collaboration with the Russian state and is in regular contact with Putin.

Spain’s decision is the latest in a series of seizures designed to punish those thought to be affiliated with the Russian leader, after he launched his deadly invasion of Ukraine last month.

The Crescent had been docked in the port of Tarragona, Catalonia

Just five days ago, a £530m yacht owned by Andrey Melnichenko, another oligarch, was seized by Italian authorities. The vessel, called “SY A”, had been in storage at the northeastern port of Trieste, a statement from Italy’s financial police said.

The Crescent is not even the first boat tied to Mr Sechin to be intercepted by European police since sanctions were put in place. On 3 March, France impounded the Amore Vero, an 86-metre superyacht, in a night-time operation as it attempted to escape measures already in effect.

The crew were reportedly rushing to cast off from a shipyard at La Ciotat, on the outskirts of Marseilles, where it was undergoing repairs, when a squad of customs officers boarded her and announced the seizure.

Sechin (left) is pictured alongside Putin in 2017

The yacht, which includes a swimming pool that turns into a helipad, had been due to stay there until April.

In total, five superyachts, which have long been a symbol of the extraordinary wealth accrued by oligarchs, have been seized by European governments.

Under current laws across most of Europe, for a government to actually take ownership of any asset, it would have to be able to prove that the particular asset in question was either used as part of a crime or bought with the proceeds of illegal activity.

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