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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Getaway to Montenegro: Oligarchs leave EU waters with their yachts – Panorama – Society

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Italian authorities have detained another mega yacht owned by a Russian billionaire. With an estimated value of around 530 million euros, the ship called “Sailing Yacht A” is moored in the port of Trieste, in the North Adriatic. Italian financial police officials fixed it on Friday, the government confirmed in Rome over the weekend.

The three mast of almost 143 meters in length is the largest sailing yacht in the world. Built by the German Nobiskrug shipyard, the yacht is attributed to Russian coal billionaire Andrei Melnichenko, who was placed on an EU sanctions list after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Additionally, according to the New York Times, US intelligence and Italian authorities are currently investigating whether a Scheherazade mega yacht docked at Marina di Carrara in Tuscany belongs to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The American newspaper reported that there were signs.

But luxury yacht company The Italian Sea Group, which is currently working on the 140-meter-long vessel in dry dock, said documents said Putin did not own it.

In the summer of 2020, the Scheherazade was in the port of Dubrovnik, Croatia.Photo: Jelavic/imago

However, the authorities have no doubt that “Sailing Yacht A” belongs to Melnichenko, who was placed on the EU sanctions list this week. The oligarch, who lives in St. Moritz in Switzerland, is the main owner of the EuroChem fertilizer company and the Suek coal company. Both companies announced on Thursday the departure of the billionaire from their respective boards and as a beneficiary.

In Spain, too, Russia’s oligarchs are trying to keep their wealth safe. Within days, at least two superyachts owned by Russian billionaires set sail from the Mediterranean port of Barcelona. Among them is the 139 meter long luxury yacht “My Solaris”, owned by Roman Abramowitsch, owner of British Champions League winner FC Chelsea.

Like other giant Russian yachts before it, it headed for the non-EU Mediterranean state of Montenegro.

One of the largest private yachts in the world.

For weeks, the “Solaris”, which was just launched in 2021 in Bremerhaven, Germany, was in the port of Barcelona, ​​​​where it was polished in a shipyard for the summer season. With eight decks, multiple pools, hot tubs, and a helipad, she is one of the largest and most expensive private yachts in the world. When it became known that Britain would impose sanctions on Abramovich and freeze her entire fortune, the €500 million ship suddenly disappeared. It is unknown if Abramovich was on board.
In Spain itself, the billionaire is not threatened with sanctions because Abramovich is not yet on the EU sanctions list. But this could change as this “blacklist” is expected to expand. In addition, sanctions against Russian oligarchs are likely to be tightened. The President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, has already threatened to block Spanish territorial waters from Russian ships. He is currently trying to persuade the EU to support this plan.

A few days earlier, the 70-meter-long Russian superyacht Galactica Super Nova fled the port of Barcelona. She rocked in the Spanish port for more than four months before shedding her moorings overnight. Meanwhile, the “Galactica” also reached the Balkan state of Montenegro, which the Russians consider a safe haven. The luxury ship belongs to the Russian billionaire Vagit Alekperov. He is the head of the Lukoil oil company. Alekperov is also not yet on the EU criminal list, but this could change.

Two of the ships are docked in the ports of Mallorca

So far no Russian yacht has been confiscated in Spain. But the Madrid government has instructed ports to report all Russian-owned luxury ships. You want to be prepared so you can react quickly when sanctions are extended. At least five superyachts have been identified so far. Including at least two that rotate in the ports of Mallorca.

So you can still admire the 77-meter-long private cruiser “Tango” in the island’s capital Palma. It’s already on the US sanctions list, but not yet on the EU. The ship has a swimming pool, beauty salon, giant terrace and open-air cinema. The owner is one of the richest Russians named Wiktor Wekselberg, who made billions as the owner of the Renova conglomerate. Through Renova, Wekselberg has significant holdings in companies around the world, with a particularly strong commitment in Switzerland.

A Ukrainian tried to sink the ship

Not far away, in the Majorcan port of Port Adriano, in the holiday resort of Calvià, is the “Lady Anastasia”. It is owned by Russian oligarch Alexander Mijeev, who plays a leading role in Moscow’s defense industry. The Anastasia made headlines in late February after a Ukrainian crewman tried to sink the 47-meter-long ship in retaliation for the Russian attack on Ukraine. After police questioning, the Ukrainian saboteur was released. He immediately flew home to defend the country from him.
Spain is one of the most popular foreign destinations for rich Russians to buy villas and yachts.
With an investment of at least half a million euros, Russian buyers will receive a “golden visa” from Spain. A residence permit with which you can move freely around the EU. It is estimated that close to a thousand Russians have become Spanish residents in the EU in this way during the last decade. with dpa

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