Ukraine War: Germany Seizes World’s Largest Yacht Owned By Russian President’s Ally

The world’s largest yacht was seized by German officials on Tuesday because of the vessel’s association with a sanctioned billionaire with Kremlin ties.
According to CNBC, a German official confirmed on Thursday that the motor yacht was linked to Usmanov and therefore subject to asset seizure.

Germany’s federal police informed European authorities in Brussels on Wednesday that a thorough investigation found the vessel was owned by Usmanov’s sister, Gulbakhor Ismailova.
A senior US President, Joe Biden administration official with knowledge of the matter said that the stunning superyacht was initially restricted from leaving its anchorage by German authorities on March 3.
The official asserted that the yacht had not been physically seized at the time but rather was not allowed to move from its current location in the German port city of Hamburg. The person had added that more measures would be taken later.
According to the report, the yacht, named Dilbar after Usmanov’s mother, extends over 500 feet and is equipped with two helipads and the largest indoor swimming pool ever installed on a private vessel. The Department of Treasury estimates that the current value of Usmanov’s yacht is approximately $735 million.
Usmanov and his superyacht entered the crosshairs of the US and its allies in March following coordinated global sanctions on Russian elites with Kremlin ties after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
However, a Treasury official, said any action taken by German authorities would not involve transferring the vessel to the United States under Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, sanctions.
The US sanctions listed Usmanov’s yacht as blocked property, which effectively means that any transactions related to the yacht — including maintenance, the hiring of crew and payment of docking fees — conducted with U.S. persons or in U.S. dollars are prohibited.
The seizures are part of a directive from President Joe Biden that the US and its allies would target Russian oligarchs in response to the Kremlin’s invasion: “We are joining with our European allies to find and seize your yachts, your luxury apartments, your private jets.”
“Usmanov’s Kremlin ties enrich him and enable his luxurious lifestyle,” the Treasury Department’s statement read. The billionaire’s “vast holdings” across the Russian economy and abroad include the metal, mining, telecommunications and information technology industries, according to the department. He is known to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia Dmitry Medvedev.
“Usmanov and Putin allegedly have financial ties, while Medvedev has reportedly benefited from the personal use of luxurious residences controlled by Usmanov,” the department’s statement continued. The billionaire also owns 49% of the holding company USM, which did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.
The US announced sanctions against Russian elites and their family members in March in order to interrupt “direct and indirect” support to the Russian government amid Putin’s invasion of Ukraine nearly two months ago.
“We are demonstrating our commitment to impose massive costs on Putin’s closest confidants and their family members and freeze their assets in response to the brutal attack on Ukraine,” Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen said in a statement announcing the sanctions.

Source link