Russian oligarch's yacht is costing U.S. taxpayers close to $1 million a month

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A mega-yacht seized by U.S. authorities from a Russian oligarch is costing nan authorities astir $1 cardinal a period to maintain, according to caller tribunal filings.

The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking support to waste a 348-foot yacht called Amadea, which it seized successful 2022, alleging that it was owned by sanctioned Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov. The authorities said it wants to waste nan $230 cardinal yacht owed to nan “excessive costs” of attraction and crew, which it said could full $922,000 a month.

“It is excessive for taxpayers to salary astir a cardinal dollars per period to support nan Amadea erstwhile these expenses could beryllium reduced to zero done [a] sale,” according to a tribunal filing by U.S. prosecutors connected Friday.

The monthly charges for Amadea, which is now docked successful San Diego, California, see $600,000 per period successful moving costs: $360,000 for nan crew; $75,000 for fuel; and $165,000 for maintenance, discarded removal, nutrient and different expenses. They besides see $144,000 successful monthly pro-rata security costs and typical charges including dry-docking fees, astatine $178,000, bringing nan full to $922,000, according to nan filings.

The conflict complete Amadea and nan costs to nan authorities item nan financial and ineligible challenges of seizing and trading assets owned by Russian oligarchs aft nan country’s penetration of Ukraine. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said past week that nan European Union should usage profits from much than $200 cardinal of stiff Russian assets to money Ukraine’s warfare effort.

Her comments echoed authorities calls successful nan outpouring of 2022 to frost nan yachts, backstage jets and mansions of Russian billionaires successful hopes of putting unit connected Russian President Vladimir Putin and raising money for nan warfare effort.

Yet, astir 2 years later, nan ineligible process for proving ownership of nan Russian assets and trading them has proven to beryllium acold much time-consuming and costly. In London, Russian billionaire Eugene Shvidler has waged a tribunal conflict complete his backstage jets that were impounded, and Sergei Naumenko has been appealing nan detention of his superyacht Phi.

The conflict complete Amadea began successful April 2022, erstwhile it was seized successful Fiji astatine nan petition of nan U.S. government, according to nan tribunal filings.

Though nan U.S. alleges that nan yacht is owned by Kerimov, who made his luck successful mining, attorneys for Eduard Khudainatov, an ex-Rosneft CEO who has not been sanctioned, opportunity he owns nan yacht, and person sought to return backmost possession of nan vessel.

In tribunal filings, Khudainatov’s attorneys person objected to nan U.S. government’s efforts to waste nan yacht, saying a rushed waste could lead to a distressed waste value and that nan attraction costs are insignificant comparative to nan imaginable waste value.

Khudainatov’s attorneys garbage to salary nan ongoing attraction costs arsenic agelong arsenic nan authorities pursues a waste and forfeiture. However, they opportunity their customer will reimburse nan U.S. authorities for nan much than $20 cardinal already spent to support nan yacht if it’s returned to its due owner.

In tribunal papers, nan authorities says Kerimov disguised his ownership of Amadea done a bid of ammunition companies and different owners. They opportunity emails betwixt unit members show Kerimov “was nan beneficial proprietor of nan yacht, irrespective of nan titleholder of nan vessel.”

The emails show that Kerimov and his family ordered respective interior improvements of nan yacht, including a caller pizza oven and spa, and that betwixt 2021 and 2022, erstwhile nan vessel was seized, “there were nary impermanent trips connected nan Amadea that did not see either Kerimov aliases his family members,” according to nan tribunal filings.

The authorities besides says Kerimov has been trying to waste Amadea for years, truthful a waste would beryllium successful keeping pinch his intent.

“This is not a business successful which a tribunal would beryllium ordering waste of a precious heirloom that a claimant desperately wishes to support for sentimental reasons,” nan authorities said successful filings.

Even if Amadea were sold quickly, nan proceeds wouldn’t automatically spell to nan government. Under law, nan money would beryllium held while Khudainatov and nan authorities proceed their conflict successful tribunal complete nan ownership and forfeiture.