Russian yacht still in Fiji

The US$300 million Russian superyacht Amadea will not be towed to the United States from Fiji just yet.

The legal battle to determine if the US has any legal rights to seize the vessel has gone to the highest court in the land.

The matter is now before the Supreme Court and all orders given by the High Court and the Fiji Court of Appeal have been stayed until the matter is resolved next Tuesday.

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Russian superyacht, the Amadea will not leave Fiji waters. US government officials were gearing up to tow the lavish vessel on Friday.

The vessel was seized when it berthed at Lautoka Wharf in Fiji on April 12 by the Fijian Customs, and later the US joined in saying it was a vessel of interest.

The claim is that the multi-million dollar craft belongs to the Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov, a sympathiser of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Registered owners of the yacht, Millemarin Investment Limited filed an interim stay application in the Supreme Court late Wednesday evening.

The US$300 million Russian superyacht Amadea will not be towed to the United States from Fiji just yet. Picture: Lisa Rocha Twitter

Lawyers acting for the company asked that the Amadea be restrained from leaving Fiji.

Chief Justice Kamal Kumar ruled that the interim orders of the High Court and the Appeals Court be stayed pending the appeal.

He ordered the Fiji Police Force to look after the yacht until a further determination of the appeal matter.

Justice Kumar added that no person should enter the yacht unless it is authorised by the first respondent, the Director of Public Prosecutions.

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He said it was also the duty of the first respondent to ensure that the yacht was in a sailing condition.

The Office of the DPP had earlier told the Fiji Court of Appeals that it costs FJ$83,000 (AU$55,000) per day to keep the Amadea at the Lautoka Wharf.

The US authorities have argued in court that they would be seizing the vessel because of violations of American laws which includes money laundering.

The ship travelled for 18 days from Mexico to Fiji. The reason for the trip to Fiji is unknown at this point in time.

The Amadea becomes the second Russian superyacht seized by the US in its attempts to bring to task all sympathisers of Putin.

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