Secrecy surrounds Russian linked yacht seizure case

The High Court in Suva. Picture: Wikipedia

The United States government is aiming to bar the media from hearing their affidavit in the High Court in Suva, fearing confidential information will be made public in relation to the seized Russian superyacht Amadea.

Amadea was seized in on April 12 in Lautoka, with matters brought before the court in Fiji last week to seize the yacht.

This is the second superyacht seized by the US, the first being in Spain.

The seizure was in relation to possible ownership of the US$300 million yacht and allegations of money laundering.

The US believe Suleiman Kerimov was the intended beneficiary of the superyacht.

Russia superyacht Amadea. Picture: Facebook

Kerimov was blacklisted by the US and European Union and sanctions were placed on him because of his possible links with the Russian president Vladimir Putin.

The DPP counsel is requesting that the affidavit only be discussed in closed court proceedings. The Office of the DPP made their application to seize the document last week. The US through the Office of the DPP also submitted their application via affidavit.

Suva lawyer Faizal Haniff appeared on behalf of Millemarin Investment Limited, a company registered in Cyprus claiming to be the owner of the Amadea. He told the court on Friday that Kerimov was not the benefactor.

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He also filed an affidavit outlining the ownership trail of the superyacht.

In responding to the closed-court affidavit, Mr Haniff said they must ensure they are not bending over backwards for the Americans.

He said Fiji was a sovereign nation with its own laws.

Justice Deepthi Amaratunga said he has to consider all aspects of the application before making a decision.

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