Inside Seized Russian Yacht, an 'Interesting' Find

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco says alleged Faberge egg was recovered
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2022 7:27 AM CDT
Updated Jul 24, 2022 6:40 AM CDT
Inside Seized Superyacht: an Alleged Faberge Egg
Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, then-Anzhi Makhachkala's owner, watches the Europa League soccer match between Anzhi Makhachkala and AZ Alkmaar at Lokomotiv stadium in Moscow, Russia, on Aug. 23, 2012.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

US law enforcement officials who seized a Russian oligarch's $300 million yacht found what could be considered the ultimate symbol of opulence inside: an alleged Fabergé egg. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco told the Aspen Security Forum on Wednesday that the jeweled egg was one of the more "interesting" finds made in the seizure of Russian assets. She didn't describe the egg but said it was discovered on a yacht that had been sailed from Fiji to San Diego Bay, where it remains, per the Guardian. That fits the description of the yacht Amadea, owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov, which was seized by the Fiji government at the request of the US.

If the egg is a genuine Fabergé, meaning it is one of 69 made by the famed House of Fabergé in St. Petersburg between the late 19th century and early 20th century, it would be worth millions. It would add to the billions of dollars in sanctioned Russian assets seized since March. The Justice Department has asked Congress for the authority to send the proceeds from seized goods to Ukraine, per CNN. "We're working with our law enforcement counterparts around the world to conduct searches on these yachts to make sure we have the authority and can go to a court, seize them and then forfeit the proceeds," Monaco said.

Viktor Vekselberg, another sanctioned Russian oligarch, is said to own nine of the 42 surviving eggs created specifically for the Russian Imperial family from 1885 to 1916, including the very first one, the Jeweled Hen Egg, given by Tsar Alexander III to his wife Maria Feodorovna. However, there has been no mention of any being found on his $90 million yacht, Tango, which was seized in Spain at the request of the US. Most of his collection resides at the Fabergé Museum in St. Petersburg. But the Jeweled Hen Egg was on loan to a UK museum at the time Russia invaded Ukraine. In May, Insider reported that the museum would risk breaching sanctions if it returned the priceless egg. (Read more Faberge egg stories.)

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