Hunting season! The Western’s hunt for the Oligarchs’ superyachts and ill-gotten gains!

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The U.S. and EU apparently increase pressure on Putin through his oligarchs. Their assets are mainly in bank accounts or real estate abroad. Or in ports. U.S. President Joe Biden warned Russian oligarchs during his State of the Union address on Tuesday evening, saying that the U.S. will seize much of their wealth in the country. “We are joining with our European allies to find and seize your yachts, your luxury apartments, your private jets,” Biden said in his address. “We are coming for your ill-begotten gains.”

Russian oligarchs evidently move their superyachts to safe havens around the world as the West tightens sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine. The movements come as US president Joe Biden said he and his allies plan to seize the yachts, luxury apartments and private jets of wealthy connected Russians.

A Forbes report said that the 156-metre (512-foot) Dilbar, valued at $600m and regarded as the largest motor yacht in the world by gross tonnage, was seized by German authorities on Wednesday. The Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov is the owner. He is on the list of Russian billionaires to face sanctions from the European Union

Barron’s reported that the superyacht Clio owned by Oleg Deripaska, a US-sanctioned Russian oligarch, arrived in the Maldives. The sunny island nation doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the U.S. Clio dropped anchor off Malé, the capital of the Maldives. The largest yacht currently in the Maldives is the 140-metre Ocean Victory, belonging to steel magnate Victor Rashnikov. Titan, owned by Russian billionaire Alexander Abramov, is also currently anchored in Male.

The 141-metre Nord, owned by Alexei Mordashov is currently in the Seychelles after reportedly sailing from the Maldives. The Rhapsody of Russian banker Andrey Kostin is also heading to the Seychelles after reportedly sailing into Barcelona last month. It’s not clear why the Russians would be moving their yachts to the Seychelles as it has an extradition treaty with the US and other countries, the SUN noticed. Meanwhile, Vagit Alekperov, president of Russia-based Lukoil, is sailing his Galactica Super Nova to Montenegro. Montenegro does not have an extradition agreement with the U.S.

The Biden administration and the EU target Russian oligarchs as part of the Western sanctions against Russia. The sanctions aim to financially cripple the country’s wealthiest members in retaliation for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

We all know that the Russians also bring their money into Europe through financial institutions in Cyprus and Malta. The regulators there, CySEC and MFSA, are very receptive to brown envelopes. The yachts and jets are very easy targets for the authorities if they are serious. But the investment firms through which the Russians launder their money should not be forgotten.

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