$735M Russian Linked Mega Yacht Impounded In Germany

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The world’s apparently largest yacht (in terms of the vessel’s weight) has been seized by German authorities as part of the worldwide crackdown on Russian oligarch-linked assets over violence in Ukraine perpetrated by Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s regime. German police indicated this week that “through extensive investigations despite offshore concealment” authorities were able to determine that the so-called superyacht was owned by Gulbakhor Ismailova, a sister of sanctioned Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov. The vessel — called the Dilbar and worth somewhere between $600 million and $735 million — was previously reported to have been brought under the control of the German government, but authorities in the country disputed those reports, which emerged last month. Usmanov is “known to be close” to figures including Putin, U.S. authorities have said.

The Ministry for Economy and Innovation in the German state of Hamburg was apparently the specific German authority to dispute that earlier, seemingly premature report about the seizure. ‘A spokesperson for Usmanov told the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, which Forbes is collaborating with on assets linked to Russian oligarchs, that the yacht had “long ago been transferred into an irrevocable trust” and that Usmanov had “donated” the beneficial rights to members of his family,’ Forbes reported. Presumably, those members of his family would include his sister if this assessment is to be believed, since German authorities apparently concluded that Ismailova — who’s seemingly also under sanctions — owned the vessel. That German ministry insisted around the time of that earlier report that restrictions can be imposed on Russian oligarchs’ assets only in the event that “the ownership situation is clearly clarified and all these possessions are also sanctioned.” It seems safe to assume that German authorities have therefore spent recent weeks investigating this matter.

Around the world, there have been a substantial number of seizures of high-dollar assets linked to Russian oligarchs. The U.S. has carried out at least one seizure of a yacht, although U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said officials “obtained seizure warrants targeting the assets of several additional sanctioned Russian nationals” on the same day that seizure took place. It’s not immediately clear which assets or individuals might be affected by the warrants; hundreds upon hundreds of interests inside Russia have been hit by U.S. sanctions. Additionally, the U.S. has also provided information helpful for seizures conducted by other governments. In the meantime, the U.S. has also announced hundreds of millions of dollars worth of additional aid for Ukraine consisting of various weapons to use against Russian aggression. The latest cache of defense assistance is valued at some $800 million, bringing the total amount of U.S. defense aid rolled out for Ukraine even further into the billions.

A statement from President Joe Biden said the new aid features “many of the highly effective weapons systems we have already provided and new capabilities tailored to the wider assault we expect Russia to launch in eastern Ukraine,” and the president added: “The steady supply of weapons the United States and its Allies and partners have provided to Ukraine has been critical in sustaining its fight against the Russian invasion. It has helped ensure that Putin failed in his initial war aims to conquer and control Ukraine. We cannot rest now. As I assured President Zelenskyy, the American people will continue to stand with the brave Ukrainian people in their fight for freedom.”