Superyacht Seized as It Prepared 'to Sail Off Urgently'

France seizes $120M yacht linked to Putin's friend and ally Igor Sechin
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2022 9:30 AM CST
Updated Mar 6, 2022 12:10 PM CST
This Russian Oligarch Just Lost His Superyacht
In this file photo taken May 12, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, speaks with Igor Sechin, CEO of Russian oil giant Rosneft, at a news conference at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia.   (Yuri Kadobnov/ Pool photo via AP, File)

(Newser) – Two days after he was sanctioned by the European Union, Russian oligarch Igor Sechin lost his superyacht. France on Wednesday seized the 280-foot yacht Amore Vero ("True Love"), with a reported price tag of $120 million, reports CNN. The ship, reportedly owned by an entity of which Sechin is the main shareholder, had arrived in the Mediterranean port of La Ciotat in January for repairs. It was expected to depart on April 1, though Reuters reports French customs officers on Wednesday noted that the yacht was "taking steps to sail off urgently, without the repair works being over." The EU sanctions "require the detention of the vessel with immediate effect," France’s Finance Ministry said in a statement, per Business Insider.

Sechin, a former deputy prime minister of Russia and current CEO of Rosneft Oil Co., was among 26 Russians sanctioned by the EU on Monday. The EU described him as one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's "most trusted and closest advisors, as well as his personal friend," per CNN. Forbes initially reported that Germany had seized a $600 million superyacht owned by another of those sanctioned, Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, from a Hamburg shipyard where it was undergoing a retrofit on Wednesday, prompting Ukraine's advisor to the minister of internal affairs to suggest that the yacht be sent to Ukraine to be refitted as a missile cruiser. But Hamburg authorities have since denied the seizure, per the Guardian.

At least five other superyachts owned by Russian billionaires are now anchored or cruising in the Maldives, which doesn't have an extradition treaty with the US. That reportedly includes a 288-foot yacht owned by Russian oligarch and Norilsk Nickel President Vladimir Potanin, recently described as Russia's second-richest man. This comes days after the US vowed to seize the property of sanctioned individuals. "This coming week, we will launch a multilateral transatlantic taskforce to identify, hunt down, and freeze the assets of sanctioned Russian companies and oligarchs: their yachts, their mansions, and any other ill-gotten gains that we can find and freeze under the law," the White House tweeted Sunday. (Read more Russian oligarchs stories.)

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