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HomeTop Global NewsU.S. moves to claim $300M superyacht belonging to 'Russian Gatsby'

U.S. moves to claim $300M superyacht belonging to ‘Russian Gatsby’

The yacht Amadea of sanctioned Russian Oligarch Suleiman Kerimov, seized by the Fiji government at the request of the US, arrives at the Honolulu Harbor, Hawaii, June 16, 2022.

Eugene Tanner | AFP | Getty Images

The Justice Department on Monday officially moved to claim a 340-foot superyacht it says belongs to a sanctioned billionaire oligarch known as the “Russian Gatsby.”

In a civil forfeiture claim filed in federal court in New York, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams’ office said the $300 million vessel Amadea is beneficially owned by Suleiman Kerimov and that the “superyacht was improved and maintained in violation of applicable sanctions against Kerimov and those acting on his behalf.”

The filing contends the yacht, which has a helipad, an infinity pool, a jacuzzi and multiple bars, should be forfeited to the U.S. government.

Kerimov, who’s worth an estimated $14 billion and has ties to the Russian government, was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department over alleged money laundering in 2018.

He’s been referred to as a “Russian Gatsby” in part because he rarely does interviews while indulging in the high life. He’s hosted multi-million-dollar parties at his villas on the French Riviera, including one that reportedly featured a performance by Beyoncé, and his car collection includes a rare Ferrari Enzo, which he once crashed into a tree in 2006.

The court filing said officials were able to prove his ownership of the yacht by showing that he was responsible for numerous upgrades to the vessel, including a new pizza oven.

The yacht was seized in Fiji last year as part of the work of Task Force KleptoCapture, which has been going after the assets of sanctioned oligarchs in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The U.S. has worked with numerous other countries to seize a number of superyachts with ties to oligarchs, whose ownership interests are often hard to prove.

Task Force KleptoCapture co-director Michael Khoo said in a statement the forfeiture proceeding on the Amadea came “after a careful and painstaking effort to develop the necessary evidence showing Suleiman Kerimov’s clear interest in the Amadea and the repeated misuse of the U.S. financial system to support and maintain the yacht for his benefit.”

“Getting to this point required extensive cooperation across the U.S. government and with foreign partners. It underscores our resolve to undertake challenging, cross-border investigations and to send a message to Russian oligarchs and their enablers: if you flout the rule of law, you can expect to pay real and meaningful consequences,” Khoo said.

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