The U.S. government seized yet another Russian billionaire-owned superyacht, this one an immensely opulent vessel designed to feel like a floating 18th-century palace.
The yacht—dubbed the Amadea—has been linked to oligarch Suleyman Kerimov, who made his money in gold mining, and politician who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Amadea sailed off under U.S control earlier on Tuesday.
At first, the Fiji government put a stay on the international warrant that allowed that seizure but that decision was recently lifted by the country’s supreme court. Fiji Chief Justice Kamal Kumar made the ruling and stated The Amadea "sailed into Fiji waters without any permit and most probably to evade prosecution by the United States.” Forbes reported that Kerimov likely spent over $500,000 in fuel during his attempts to hide his superyacht from authorities.
The sanctions, meant to put pressure on the Russian elite, were implemented after Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year. Over a dozen yachts, estimated to be worth over $2.25 billion, have been seized as a part of this effort.
The Amadea, like many of those seized as a result of the sanctions, is extravagant beyond belief. The 348-foot yacht is worth about $325 million and can sleep up to 16 people. A write-up about the vessel in Boat International paints a scene of extreme opulence on board. The boat is awash in gleaming hardwood and is designed to be some sort of buoyant Versailles. The dining room features a chandelier and a dining table which could be easily found in a three-star Michelin restaurant. For what you’ll eat on that table, well, you don’t need to look much further than the live lobster tank. An elevator or an ornate staircase will bring you to the yacht's multiple levels. Much of the yacht's furniture is either from or inspired by 18th-century design.
“Alcohol, books, and accessories are part of the design,” the yacht’s designer told Forbes.
The yacht features a handmade piano that “took 18 months and thousands of hours to build” which “all the hardware, from pedals to hinges, is in 24kt gold.” On the deck, there is a 30-foot infinity pool, and the nose of the vessel doubles as a helipad.
The stay was initially implemented because of the seemingly murky ownership of the Amadea. The New York Times reported that while the U.S. government claims it belongs to Kerimov, a lawyer representing the company that controls the yacht is adamant it belongs to Eduard Khudainatov, a Russian oil tycoon. The U.S. has accused Khudainatov of being a “straw owner” of the yacht who is aiding Kerimov to shirk the sanctions. This has been a rather consistent strategy to attempt to sidestep the sanctions.
Kumar ruled that the chance of the lawyers fighting on the behalf of the Russians winning an appeal was “nil to very slim.”
Khudainatov previously had yet another superyacht roaming the seas. The Scheherazade, which is worth $700 million, was seized in Italy in May. Earlier this week, the U.S. government moved to seize two private jets from Russian businessman Roman Abramovich. One of the planes is estimated to be worth over $325 million.
It is unclear if the planes featured a live lobster tank or a gold piano.
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