US seizes Russian Oligarch’s superyacht in Fiji after a court injunction 

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ON TUESDAY, the US won a judicial battle in Fiji to seize a Russian-owned superyacht and immediately took possession of the $325 million (€304 million) vessel.

Only two hours after the decision was made, the ship sailed for the United States. The court judgment was a significant victory for the US, which has faced numerous setbacks in its efforts to reclaim the assets of Russian oligarchs around the world. While many people opposed to the war in Ukraine supported these activities, some of them pushed American authority beyond its borders.

The Supreme Court of Fiji revoked the stay order that prevented the US from taking the superyacht Amadea.

Chief Justice Kamal Kumar concluded that defense attorneys had “zero to extremely slim” chances of filing an appeal that the Supreme Court would hear based on the facts. However, Mr. Kumar acknowledged that maintaining the superyacht at Lautoka harbor was “costing the Fijian government a lot of money.”

The US withdrew the motorized vessel within an hour or two following the court’s order, probably to avoid additional legal action. According to Anthony Coley, a spokeswoman for the US Justice Department, the superyacht has set sail for the United States under a new flag. He also complimented Fiji police and prosecutors “whose perseverance and dedication to the rule of law made this action possible.”

In early May, the Justice Department claimed that the Amadea had been seized in Fiji, but it was later determined that the declaration was premature after lawyers filed an appeal. It was unclear where the US planned to take the Amadea, which the FBI has tied to Russian businessman Suleiman Kerimov. According to Fiji’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Christopher Pryde, unresolved concerns of money laundering and ownership of the Amadea must be handled in the United States.

According to court filings, the FBI linked the Amadea to the Kerimov family, noting their alleged use of code names aboard and purchasing items such as a pizza oven and a spa bed.

Task Force KleptoCapture, which was formed in March to seize the assets of Russian billionaires in order to put pressure on Russia to end the conflict, seized the ship. On the 348-foot-long boat, which is nearly the length of an American football field, there is a live lobster tank, a hand-painted piano, a swimming pool, and a gigantic helipad.

Millemarin Investments, the paper’s owner, was represented by lawyer Feizal Haniff, who claimed that the owner was a wealthy Russian who, unlike Mr. Kerimov, was not subject to sanctions.

According to the US, Eduard Khudainatov appeared to be the owner on paperwork. Still, he was also the paper owner of a second, larger superyacht, the Scheherazade, which has been linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin. As a result, the US questioned Mr. Khudainatov’s ability to buy two superyachts totaling over one billion dollars (£794 million).

According to court documents, the Amadea sailed from the Caribbean to Mexico via the Panama Canal shortly after Russia attacked Ukraine. The ship then crossed the Pacific Ocean for hundreds of kilometers to arrive in Fiji.

The Justice Department said that paperwork suggesting the Amadea’s destination was Vladivostok or another Russian port was false. Instead, the ship was really destined for Vladivostok or another Russian port.

According to the department, the text message said, “We’re not going to Russia,” followed by a “shush” emoji. According to the US, Mr. Kerimov bought the Amadea, which is registered in the Cayman Islands, through a series of shell companies last year.

According to emails obtained during a search request in Fiji, Mr. Kerimov’s children were on board this year, and the crew used code names like G0 for Mr. Kerimov, G1 for his wife, G2 for his daughter, and so on.

Mr. Kerimov made a fortune through his involvement in Polyus, a Russian gold corporation. Forbes magazine estimates his net worth at $14.5 billion (£11.5 million). However, after being detained with luggage containing 20 million euros (£17 million) in France and being accused of money laundering there, the US sanctioned him for the first time in 2018

Mr. Khudainatov is the former chairman and CEO of Rosneft, the Russian government-owned oil and gas company.

Opinions expressed by San Francisco Post contributors are their own.

Niall Moore

A social-media savvy and works as an IT consultant on a communication firm in Los Angeles. She manages her blog site and a part-time writer.

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