Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Fiji rejects request to prevent US from seizing Russian luxury yacht

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Cole Hanson
Cole Hanson
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A Fiji court on Friday rejected an appeal seeking to prevent US authorities from seizing the giant Russian yacht Amadea, which is believed to be owned by a sanctioned Russian oligarch.

The $300 million, 106-meter yacht, which the United States has linked to billionaire and politician Suleiman Karimov, was confiscated when it arrived in Fiji a month ago at Washington’s request.

The yacht’s registered owners, Millemarin Investments, denied that Karimov owned it and said that the Fijian law under which Amadea was held does not allow the United States to seize it.

In a written ruling, the appeals court said it rejected Millemarin Investments’ appeal, but also said the ruling would not be in effect for seven days.

Fijian lawyer for Millemarin Investments, Feizel Haniff, told reporters that he plans to take the case to the Supreme Court in Fiji and will seek a court order to prevent US clients from boarding the ship. Amadea before hearing the call.

Mr. Hanif had previously lodged an appeal arguing that the real owner of the vessel was Edward Khudianatov, a wealthy Russian who was not subject to sanctions.

Karimov was sanctioned by the United States in 2018 for money laundering, and he is now among the Russian oligarchs sanctioned by several countries and the European Union after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In a publicly available copy of the original arrest warrant, the section listing various reasons for believing Mr. Karimov to be the true owner of the yacht has been partially obscured.

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The mandate indicates that ownership was transferred to Millemarin Investment in August 2021.

The memo says ownership passed to Millemarin Investment in August 2021, but documents filed with the Court of Appeals said Mr. Khudainatov was the owner of Amadea, registered in the Cayman Islands and held through Cayman Islands-based Millemarin Investments.

Mr Khdyanatov, a former CEO of Russian oil and gas company Rosneft, has also been linked to the $700 million luxury yacht Scheherazade, which has been seized in Italy and is under investigation over its owner.

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