By Richard Moorhead May 7, 2022 at 3:12pm
Vladimir Putin may have just lost his personal yacht.
Authorities of Italy’s Finance Ministry ordered the seizure of the Scheherazade on Friday, confiscating the 459-foot vessel currently docked in the port of Marina di Carrara.
Speaking to the New York Times in March, one anonymous crew member of the vessel said that the crew all referred to the boat as “Putin’s yacht.”
Another crew member cited a “watertight” non-disclosure agreement.
American officials quoted by the New York Times in March also indicated the luxury ship had links to Putin.
Intelligence officials believe that Putin keeps little expensive property registered under his name, instead allowing oligarchs connected to him to own the assets made available for his personal use.
The vessel, estimated to have been built for a price of $700 million, is among the most luxurious in the world.
The Scheherazade has two helicopter landing decks, a movie theater, a swimming pool that converts into a dance floor and gold-plated fixtures.
The vessel had reportedly been preparing to leave the Italian port before the authorities ordered its seizure, following a race to determine the legal ownership of the boat.
Should Putin get to keep his yacht?
Eduard Khudainatov, a Russian oil oligarch, has been identified as the owner of the vessel in Italian media.
Imprisoned Russian dissident Alexei Navalny conducted an investigation into the ownership of the vessel in 2020. He concluded that the ship’s crew was staffed by members of Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB.
According to Navalny, in the summers of 2020 and 2021, the vessel traveled to the Black Sea port of Sochi, where Putin owns a luxury residence.
Russia’s Stalinist war on Ukraine has resulted in an onslaught of sanctions against the country.
The Scheherazade is one of many luxury yachts to be impounded by western governments this year.
Authorities of Fiji granted the United States government permission to confiscate a $300 million superyacht belonging to Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov on Thursday.
Corruption and oligarchy are rife in Russia, a country that’s far poorer than most European countries, all the while having the fifth most billionaires in the world.
Russian soldiers have been sent into combat without proper protective gear, even as the country’s leaders pilfer billions of dollars of public funds.