US seizes Russian oligarch’s $90m yacht in Spain

The United States and Spain on Monday seized a yacht in Mallorca belonging to Russian oligarch and billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, who is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the justice department said Monday.

Why is this important: Attorney General Merrick Garland said it was the first seizure by the Department of Justice. newly created Russia’s Sanctions Enforcement Working Group, adding that it “won’t be the last.”

  • “Together with our international partners, we will do everything we can to hold accountable any individual whose criminal acts allow the Russian government to continue its unjust war,” Garland said.
  • The Treasury Department estimated the value of the yacht at $90 million.

Vekselberg was sanctioned by the Treasury Department since at least 2018although the ministry announced new penalties against him last month for supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

  • Vekselberg is the chairman of Renova Group, a Russian aluminum, oil, energy and telecommunications conglomerate.

What they say : The Spanish Civil Guard said in a report on Monday that he helped FBI and Homeland Security investigations seize the yacht, named ‘Tango’, from a Mallorca shipyard, as first reported PA.

  • “During the entry and search carried out inside the yacht, various documents and computer devices were seized and will be analyzed to, among other things, corroborate the identity of its true owner,” he said. .
  • He said the ship sails under the flag of the Cook Islands and is owned by a company registered in the British Virgin Islands which is managed by companies in Panama through what the Guard called “a complex financial and business conspiracy to conceal its true property”.
  • The Department of Justice says the 255ft luxury yacht is likely to be confiscated due to violations of US bank fraud, money laundering and sanctions laws, as part of an investigation American on Vekselberg.

The big picture: All of Vekselberg’s US assets had already been frozen and US companies are barred from doing business with him and his entities.

  • The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control identified Tango and a $90 million plane (tail number P4-MIS) also held by Vekselberg as escrow property last month.

Go further: EU to hit Russia with new sanctions over Bucha killings