French customs seized a yacht belonging to Igor Sechin, CEO of Rosneft when trying to leave the Mediterranean port of La Ciotat, in violation of European Union sanctions against Russian oligarchs, said the finance minister, Bruno the Mayor.
The move came as Western states are rolling out massive sanctions, including asset freezes, against Russia for invading neighboring Ukraine. German authorities also seized a nearly $600 million luxury yacht owned by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, Forbes reported.
The 88-meter “Amore Vero” arrived in La Ciotat on January 3 and was due to remain there until April 1 for repairs, the finance ministry said in a statement, adding that the vessel was subject to the new sanctions.
But on Wednesday, customs officials said the yacht was “taking measures to set sail urgently, without finishing repair work,” the statement said, adding that authorities therefore decided to confiscate it.
The Finance Ministry said the yacht belongs to a company whose main shareholder is Sechin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He did not name the company.
Monaco-based Imperial Yachts, which Refinitiv data shows is linked to Amore Vero, told Reuters the yacht was owned by a company called Kazimo, which appointed them ship managers in 2018.
“The person you name is not related to Kazimo or the yacht,” an Imperial Yachts representative told Reuters, when asked about Sechin.
“Kazimo’s lawyers are in contact with French Douane to correct the record,” they said.
The Finance Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The superyacht was built by Oceanco in the Netherlands and delivered to her owner in 2013, according to Yachtcharterfleet.com, which says her onboard features include a beauty salon and gym. She sails under the Cayman Islands flag, according to Eikon data.
“Thank you to French customs officials who are enforcing European Union sanctions against people close to the Russian government,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in a tweet.
French authorities also seized a Russian-owned freighter in the port of Lorient, Brittany, on Thursday.
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