May 24, 2022

Germany seizes Russian oligarch’s superyacht as West intensifies sanctions over Ukraine

As Western nations continue to pursue strategies designed to inflict maximum pain on those responsible for or supporting Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany struck a notable blow this week by seizing a $600 million yacht belonging to Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov, as the Washington Examiner reports.

According to the outlet, sources revealed to Forbes that German officials took control of the 512-foot vessel known by the name Dibar on Monday, as it was undergoing refitting work in a shipyard in that country.

The move came amid a broader issuance of sanctions by the European Union on 26 different individuals who had their financial assets frozen and their ability to travel freely in member countries suspended.

In response, Usmanov said, “On 28 February I became the target of restrictive measures imposed by the European Union [.] I believe that such decision is unfair, and the reasons employed to justify the sanctions are a set of false and defamatory allegations damaging my honor, dignity, and business reputation.”

As the Examiner further noted, the EU has declared Usmanov to be strongly allied with Putin, saying, “He has been referred to as one of Vladimir Putin’s favorite oligarchs. He is considered to be one of Russia’s businessmen-officials, who were entrusted with servicing financial flows, but their positions depend on the will of the president.

Usmanov is not the only Russian oligarch to suffer the loss of his luxury watercraft, as the New York Post reported on Wednesday that authorities in France took control of a $120 million yacht owned by Igor Sechin, a well-known oil magnate.

The seizure of Sechin’s vessel โ€“ named the Amore Vero โ€“ occurred as it was trying to make its way out of the country’s southern port of La Ciotat, after having been in the area for repair work since the first of the year.

Sechin has been described by European Union officials as among the Russian president’s “most trusted and closest advisors, as well as his personal friend, and is a former deputy prime minister and current chief executive of Rosneft โ€“ an integrated energy company focusing on petroleum and natural gas.

In an attempt to ratchet up the financial pressure on Russia, the White House announced additional sanctions of its own on Russian oligarchs and family members on Thursday, including a ban on travel to the United States, but whether they will move the needle when it comes to prompting Putin to de-escalate in Ukraine, only time will tell.

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