The High Court in Suva has ordered that a superyacht reportedly owned by Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov be seized following an application by the Director of Public Prosecutions in Fiji, Christopher Pryde.
Mr Pryde had made the application for a warrant by the United States to seize the superyacht Amadea.
He filed an ex parte Originating Summons under the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, and sought orders restraining the yacht and preventing it from leaving Fijian waters until the finalisation of the application to seize the property.
In a statement, the Office of the Director Of Public Prosecutions said a US warrant to seize the Amadea will also be registered.
Mr Kerimov is subject to economic sanctions by the US and European Union following the Ukraine invasion.
The $300 million yacht arrived at the King’s Wharf in Lautoka on April 12 and was seized by the Fiji Revenue and Customs Services and the Fiji Police. It is believed that US federal agents also boarded the yacht.
The ship was seized under Section 14 for failure to comply with procedure on arrival and Section 17 of Customs Act which deals with failure to comply with persons disembarking.
A notice was issued to the captain of the Amadea. Both infringements impose a combined maximum fine of $30,000.
According to the yacht’s travel records, the ship left Antigua in the Caribbean in March and travelled to Manzillo, Mexico through the Panama Canal.
The superyacht then made a journey of 18 days, travelling 5,124 nautical miles or 9,488 kilometres to Fiji.
According to the yacht’s specification, it has a 390,000 litre fuel tank.
Cook Islands flag
The Amadea is the second Russian yacht to be seized involving the US. Two weeks ago, the superyacht Tango was seized by US authorities in Spain.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland had issued a statement saying it was the first seizure by the US of assets belonging to sanctioned individuals from Russia, and indicated there would be more.
The seizure in Spain was made on the allegations of money laundering.
The Tango was flying a Cook Islands flag. The Cook Islands Government was quick to respond.
The Cook Island News reported Cook Islands Maritime as stating that none of the 33 Russian owned yachts carrying the Cook Islands flag belonged to sanctioned individuals.