A Fijian high court has granted an order to restrain a superyacht linked to Suleyman Kerimov.
But a US warrant to seize the vessel hasn’t yet been registered, a Fiji government spokesperson said.
Kerimov has been sanctioned by the US, UK, and EU. The EU said he was close to Putin.
A $325 million superyacht linked to sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleyman Kerimov will not be allowed to leave Fiji’s waters after the country’s high court granted a restraining order against the vessel.
The US is seeking to seize the Amadea, which arrived in the Pacific nation on April 13 after an 18-day voyage from Mexico. Fiji’s director of public prosecutions (DPP), Christopher Pryde, filed applications with the high court on Tuesday “seeking orders (i) that the motor yacht Amadea be restrained from leaving Fijian waters until the finalization of an application to register a warrant to seize the property and (ii) that a US warrant to seize the Amadea be registered.”
A spokesperson for Pryde told Insider on Wednesday: “The DPP received an Authority to Proceed from Fiji’s Attorney-General after Fiji received a formal request for mutual legal assistance from the US government.”
The spokesperson said that the high court in Suva, Fiji’s capital, had on Tuesday granted the order to restrain Amadea. They said that “the issue of registration of the US warrant will need to be determined at a later date” with a next court hearing on the matter scheduled for Thursday. Legal ownership of the Amadea was “still subject to investigation,” the spokesperson added.
Western countries have placed sweeping sanctions on Russia after President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Ukraine. As well as targeting Russian businesses, finances, and industry, the West has been sanctioning Russian elites to put pressure on the country to stop the invasion.
Kerimov, a member of the Russian Federation Council, was sanctioned by the EU and UK on March 15. The EU said that Kerimov is “a member of the inner circle of oligarchs” close to Putin and that he had attended a meeting of oligarchs with Putin at the Kremlin in late February to discuss the impact of Western sanctions.
Kerimov had already been sanctioned by the US in 2018who said that he had been accused of both money laundering in France and failing to pay 400 million euros ($432 million) in taxes with villas.
Kerimov is worth around $14.3 billion, per estimates from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. I have owns Nafta Moscowa financial and industrial group in Russia, and his family owns a controlling stake in Polyus Gold, which claims to be Russia’s biggest gold producer.
France, Italy, and Spain are among the nations seizing assets belonging to sanctioned oligarchsincluding their private jets, super yacht, and property. The first yacht to be seized under the latest US sanctions was the $90 million superyacht Tango – believed to belong to sanctioned Russian oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg – which was detained by authorities on the Spanish island of Mallorca on April 4, following a request from the US Department of Justice.
Some Russian elites have been moving their yachts, private jets, and shareholdings – seemingly to avoid sanctions. Kerimov’s vessel, the Amadea, docked in Lautoka, Fiji’s second largest cityon April 13 after sailing from Mexico’s Pacific coast, data from vessel-tracking site MarineTraffic shows. Fiji hasn’t imposed sanctions on Russia.
An official at the National Police Command and Control Center previously told Reuters that the yacht’s captain had been questioned by policewho said that the vessel had arrived in Fiji without customs clearance.
Kerimov’s son, Said Kerimov, owns the superyacht ICEthought to be worth around $170 million.
Insider has requested comment from the US Treasury and Department of Justice, as well as the US Embassy in Fiji.
Read the original article on Business Insider