Democracies have imposed an array of sanctions on Russia after the nation’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine. Superyachts and other displays of wealth by Russian elite have drawn especially intense scrutiny.
The US embassy said it was aware the Amadea had docked in Lautoka and its officials were cooperating with Fijian authorities.
“The United States is committed to finding and seizing the assets of the oligarchs who have supported the Russian Federation’s brutal, unprovoked war of choice against Ukraine,” the embassy said in a statement.
It was not clear whether Fiji would seize the yacht. But a source close to the government said the island nation was not party to the US/UK treaty and “thus can and will not seize the Amadea”.
According to Fiji port requirements, any yacht arriving in the country must obtain approval from the ministries of Health, Trade and Transport, and Immigration.
But Fijian Immigration Secretary Yogesh Karan said: “We have heard about it [Amadea] but nothing has come to Immigration.”
The Amadea berthed in the country’s western city of Lautoka on Wednesday.
Marine Traffic, a maritime analytics service, showed the vessel in Fijian waters from April 13. It had left Manzanillo Port in Mexico on March 24.
The yacht risks being seized by the US, UK or any European Union country after sanctions were placed on Kerimov’s assets since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Kerimov, a member of Russia’s Federation Council – the upper house of parliament – was detained overnight at the airport in Nice, France, in November 2017.
Moscow informed Paris that, as a senator, Kerimov had diplomatic immunity. But the French Foreign Ministry said at the time that Kerimov’s diplomatic immunity was applicable only to his official duties. He was charged with money laundering and tax evasion to the tune of up to €750 million (around $1 billion). In late June 2018, a court in Aix-en-Provence, France, dropped all charges against him.
Authorities in Hamburg have recently impounded the superyacht Dilbar of Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov. They determined it was legally owned by his sister, who is also subject to Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine. The 156-metre vessel, the world’s largest by volume, had been undergoing refitting in the northern German port city.
Stuff.co.nz, Bloomberg, Reuters
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