The U.S. government seized a mega yacht in Spain owned by an oligarch with close ties to Putin on Monday (April 4), the first in the government’s sanctions initiative to “seize and freeze” giant boats and other pricey assets of Russian elites.
Spain’s Civil Guard and U.S. federal agents descended on the yacht at the Marina Real in the port of Palma de Mallorca, the capital of Spain’s Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. AP reporters at the scene saw police going in and out of the boat on Monday morning.
The joint operation to seize the yacht, with Spain’s Civil Guard, the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations, was carried out at the request of U.S. authorities, the Civil Guard said.
The U.S. Justice Department, which obtained a warrant from a federal judge in Washington, alleges the yacht should be forfeited for violating U.S. bank fraud, money laundering and sanctions statutes.
The yacht is among the assets linked to Viktor Vekselberg, a billionaire and close Putin ally who heads the Moscow-based Renova Group, a conglomerate encompassing metals, mining, tech and other assets, according to U.S. Treasury Department documents.