The 459 feet long yacht is docked at the western Italian port of Marina di Carrara. The move is part of a wider crackdown by the West on assets owned by Russian oligarchs and government officials.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) May 6, 2022
Reuters: The Italian government ordered police on Friday to impound a luxury yacht worth some $700 million that has been linked in the media to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The sleek, six-deck Scheherazade had been undergoing repairs in the Italian port of Marina di Carrara since September, but recent activity at the dockside suggested that the crew might be preparing to put to sea.
A source with direct knowledge of a weeks-long investigation into the vessel said police believed the owner was Eduard Khudainatov, the former chief of Russian energy giant Rosneft (ROSN.MM) who is not currently a target of EU sanctions.
In a statement announcing the seizure order, the finance ministry did not name the owner, saying only that he had ties to “prominent elements of the Russian government”.
The ministry said the owner himself was not on any sanctions lists drawn up by Brussels following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, it said Rome had asked Brussels to rectify this and had ordered the boat to be seized pending a decision.
Police boarded the yacht late on Friday to execute the order, the Italian government said.
In an address to the Italian parliament in March, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had urged the government to impound the yacht as part of a Europe-wide effort to pressure Putin and his associates to halt the assault on Ukraine.
Italy sequestered villas and yachts worth over 900 million euros ($950 million) in March and April from wealthy Russians, who regularly came to the country on holiday and had bought property in many prestigious locations.
However, police told Reuters they had struggled to identify the real owner of the Scheherazade, which is registered in the Cayman Islands and was built by the German firm Luerssen.
Delivered to its mystery owner in 2020, the yacht has two helicopter landing pads and can host up 18 guests and 40 crew.
An organisation set up by the imprisoned Alexei Navalny, a fierce Putin critic, released a report in March saying it had evidence that the boat belonged to Putin.
It said many of its crew were drawn from Russia’s Federal Protective Service (FSO), which is tasked with protecting the Russian president.
The Kremlin did not respond at the time to a request for a comment on whether Putin was the owner or on whether members of the FSO were crew members.
Italy seized Putin's yacht Scheherazade (est worth $700M) which "has two helicopter decks… a swimming pool w/a retractable cover that converts to a dance floor… fully equipped gym and …
— Zhi Zhu 🌻 (@ZhiZhuWeb) May 7, 2022
This thread is incredible. Maria is an FBK investigator for Alexi Navalny, who hounded authorities in Italy to seize Scheherazade, a $750 million superyacht with Marble floors, gold-plated bathrooms, two helipads, and a retractable pool/dancefloor.
Maria’s hard work paid off, and holy shit, she did her homework.
Putin’s yacht sleeps 18 guests and 40 crew members who are all Russian FSB agents, and there’s no official owner of this superyacht. It’s Putin’s.
Italian authorities seized it as it was getting ready to split port, but it wasn’t scheduled to be finished a $6 million refit until 2023, so Putin wants to go somewhere or he’s starting to panic. And where the fuck would he go?
If Scheherazade is his, this represents the first time something of Putin’s has been snatched. So far, the world has been reluctant to penalize him personally or his weird family members, including his gymnast girlfriend, who looks like the German unibrow chick from Dodgeball.
The west wasn’t sanctioning Putin or those close to him for fear he’d escalate, which is hilarious to me when you think about the fact the west is pumping BILLIONS of dollars in lethal aid into Ukraine, but whatever. $750 million goes a long way to rebuilding the country he’s currently decimating, so I feel good about this.
Vlad’s Saturday was SHIT, btw. Other than Mariupol, his forces are stalled, and a new report indicated he’s four weeks away from having to retreat or mobilize 3 million reserves. MAYBE then Russians will start to ask questions.
I talked to Alex today, and he’s worried about Vday (May 9). He said intel suggested Putin’s probably planning some kind of escalation between now and then, and Putin wants to use Mariupol as a backdrop to tell Russians he won. Maybe nuclear.
Alex documents ICC war crimes in Ukraine for the Ukrainian government, so he knows. He probably does too. I hope he’s wrong.
Alex and the Italians who lead the “Russian Superyacht Seizing Sweepstakes.” Putin’s yacht buts Italy well over a billion dollars, with England coming in a close second.
And can we drink to Ukraine’s kill count? 1100 tanks, 2600 armored vehicles, and 25k soldiers. These are conservative numbers.
It’s coming for Putler. I can smell it.