Italy freezes superyacht allegedly linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin


The Scheherazade 459-foot superyacht docked at the shipyard in Marina Di Carrara, Italy on Wednesday, March 23, 2022.

Francesco Mazzei | Getty Images

WASHINGTON The Italian government on Friday frozen a yacht with reported links to Russian President Vladimir Putin, preventing the ship from leaving port.

Italy’s finance ministry said an investigation has found “significant economic and business links” between the yacht’s ultimate owner and “prominent elements of the Russian government” and people who imposed sanctions over Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. Italy has not named Putin by name, but several reports have linked the Russian leader to the ship.

Ownership of the yacht has “long been under the attention of authorities,” the finance ministry said in a statement.

The Cayman Island superyacht Scheherazade extends nearly 460 feet and is currently moored in the Italian port of Marina di Carrara.

The measures to freeze or seize luxury ships come as Western governments step up efforts to locate, identify and seize assets around the world belonging to sanctioned Russians associated with the Kremlin.

In March, the Biden administration announced a new task force called KleptoCapture to enforce far-reaching US and Allies sanctions imposed on Russian elites who helped fund Putin’s unprovoked war in Ukraine.

On Thursday, Fijian authorities seized a $300 million superyacht owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov. The nearly 100-meter motor yacht Amadea reportedly has an interior that can accommodate up to 16 guests in eight cabins and is equipped with a helipad.

Last month, German authorities said they had seized the world’s largest superyacht after official confirmation that the ship had ties to Russian billionaire business magnate Alisher Usmanov.

Named Dilbar after Usmanov’s mother, the yacht stretches for 150 feet and is equipped with two helicopters and the largest indoor pool ever installed on a private vessel. The Ministry of Finance estimates that Usmanov’s yacht is worth about $735 million.

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