U.S. authorities may be sitting quietly for a while, but they are nowhere close to being done with Russian oligarchs, their villas, and floating palaces. The reality is quite the opposite as the U.S. officials are gearing up to seize Russian oligarch superyachts in a new round. They set an unprecedented benchmark with Suleiman Kerimov’s $325 million Amadea that remains docked in San Diego.
The month-long court battle and the tug-of-war between the United States and the Russian oligarch in a Fijian court was the stuff of movies. Another action-packed attack on Kremlin-connected elites by the U.S. Department Of The Treasury was Andrey Guryev’s 269-feet steel and aluminum superyacht Alfa Nero.
The pleasure craft remained moored and motionless with a skeleton crew in Antigua for months after turning off the AIS. Despite pulling off the stunt for months, the $120 million ship was searched by the Antigua and Barbuda government and American FBI agents. In addition to the Amadea and Alfa Nero, the U.S. authorities captured Victor Vekselberg’s terrific Tango yacht.
Andrew Adams, director of the US KleptoCapture Task Force, recently confirmed for the BBC that the U.S. is going after the oligarchs and their spectacular superyachts and other assets even if it means chasing them to the ends of the Earth. “Your assets are not safe. You can try to move your boat across the ocean, but we’ll still come and grab it,” warned Adams.
Task Force KleptoCapture, dedicated to catching the Kremlin-linked culprits-
Task Force KleptoCapture has been behind the assets of Russian tycoons for many months. However, Andrew Adams, the federal prosecutor leading Task Force KleptoCapture, has a broad definition for their mission than just asset-seizing. Politico shared that Adams and his team aim to cripple the conveniences and luxuries of Putin-cronies and make them anxious about traveling. The actions of the U.S. authorities and the spotlight on these oligarchs will make them utterly radioactive, guaranteeing insurance companies, banks, and other private firms do no business with them. “Those are the quieter actions that we take,” Adams told NatSec Daily this week. “It’s not something that we can trumpet in a public way. But if you pull insurance on a boat, the boat doesn’t go anywhere. And you have largely the same impact that you would with a seizure.”
The DOJ stated, “The Justice Department will use all of its authorities to seize the assets of individuals and entities who violate these sanctions,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “We will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to investigate, arrest, and prosecute those whose criminal acts enable the Russian government to continue this unjust war. Let me be clear: if you violate our laws, we will hold you accountable.”
The cost of maintaining a seized superyacht is just as big an ordeal as capturing it-
The tribulations of officials dont end with the impounding of a luxury vessel. In fact, that is only the tip of the iceberg; what follows is a problem of an erratic nature. The Tango superyacht owned by sanctioned Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg was the first luxury vessel to be seized by a joint operation carried out by the FBI at the request of U.S. authorities along with Homeland Security Investigations and Spain’s Civil Guard. It was incredibly pricey to maintain the $90 million boat. The authorities had little to do than put the superyacht on the auction block to be sold for crumbs. They suffered a similar fate with the seized Amadea megayacht.
The American taxpayers had to shell out a pinching $110,000 per day to maintain the vessel that’s packed with every possible amenity. Add to this $1,000 per day in docking charges at the San Diego port. From insurance, docking charges, and paying the skeleton crew, the bills are as intimidating as the ship is luxurious. According to a report shared on CNN, owners possibly spend at least 10% of the purchase price on the yearly cost of maintaining and operating their yacht. The 348-footer Amadea is worth $325 million.
On the bright side, if the US is successful in proving that Amadea indeed belongs to Suleiman Kerimov it will auction the vessel and the proceeds will be given to Ukraine.