Following a warrant from the United States, Fiji officials seized a yacht owned by Russian oligarch Suleyman Kerimov and found a document suggesting an owner who violated US law.
The 348-foot luxury vessel Amadea arrived in Fiji on April 13 after an 18-day voyage from Mexico. The ship has been the focus of Washington’s seizure attempts as part of US sanctions against Russia against the invasion of Ukraine.
The $ 300 million Amadea was confiscated by Fiji police and FBI agents on May 4, two days after the district court granted a US warrant linking ships to money laundering.
On May 6, the court rejected a residence application by Millemarin Investments, the registered owner of the vessel, who wanted to prevent US authorities from removing it from Fiji.
The yacht is currently owned by US authorities.
Kerimov was approved by the United States in 2018. The Department of Foreign Assets Management of the US Treasury has designated him as part of a group of emerging Russian conglomerates that will benefit from the Russian government’s “malicious activities around the world,” including the merger of Crimea. For warrant applications.
The FBI’s Amadea seizure warrant application points out that documents found on the yacht indicate that Kerimov violated US law.
“There may be a reason why Kerimov and those acting on his behalf believe that after Kerimov was designated by the Treasury, AMADEA’s US dollar transactions were sent through US financial institutions,” the FBI said. rice field.In Seizure warrant application..
“Furthermore, there may be a reason to believe that Kerimov was interested in financial transactions with Amadea for its profits. Therefore, a license was required to trade US dollars, but it was not obtained.”
In addition, Russian oligarchs and his conspirators “collusioned and transferred funds to, from, or through the United States” to the United States with the intention of continuing to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
After Russia invaded Ukraine, Amadea operators sought to avoid being seized “almost immediately” by turning off the yacht’s automatic information system on February 24th. In its warranty application that Amadea went to Vladivostoke instead.
According to the FBI’s Secretary of State Christopher A. Wray, “this seizure is the FBI’s tenacity to pursue the Russian oligarch, which has been sanctioned to avoid accountability for its role in threatening national security,” according to May 5. It shows. ” press release According to the Ministry of Justice.
“The FBI will continue to work with international partners to find individuals who will contribute to the development of Russia’s malicious activities, ensuring that they will be brought to justice no matter where or how they hide.”
Reuters contributed to this report.