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Why superyacht was seized

Amadea, the US$300 million superyacht belonging to Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov was seized on probable cause of violations of US law, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), money laundering and conspiracy.

This is according to an official statement from the US Justice Department. This is the first statement from the US after the vessel was seized at Fiji’s Lautoka wharf on April 12.

The US District Court for the District of Columbia found that the Amadea was subject to forfeiture. The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Kerimov as part of a group of Russian oligarchs who profit from the Russian government through corruption and its malign activity around the globe, including the occupation of Crimea.

In sanctioning Kerimov, the Treasury Department also cited Kerimov as an official of the Government of the Russian Federation and a member of the Russian Federation Counsel.

US federal agents boarding the Amadea at the Lautoka wharf. Picture: US Justice Department

The statement said Kerimov and those acting on his behalf and for his benefit caused US dollar transactions to be routed through U.S. financial institutions for the support and maintenance of the Amadea.

“This ruling should make clear that there is no hiding place for the assets of individuals who violate U.S. laws. And there is no hiding place for the assets of criminals who enable the Russian regime,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.

“The Justice Department will be relentless in our efforts to hold accountable those who facilitate the death and destruction we are witnessing in Ukraine.”

“Last month, I warned that the department had its eyes on every yacht purchased with dirty money,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco.

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“This yacht seizure should tell every corrupt Russian oligarch that they cannot hide – not even in the remotest part of the world. We will use every means of enforcing the sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war in Ukraine.”

“This seizure demonstrates the FBI’s persistence in pursuing sanctioned Russian oligarchs attempting to evade accountability for their role in jeopardizing our national security,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“The FBI, along with our international partners, will continue to seek out those individuals who contribute to the advancement of Russia’s malign activities and ensure they are brought to justice, regardless of where, or how, they attempt to hide.”

“This seizure of Suleiman Kerimov’s vessel, the Amadea, nearly 8,000 miles from Washington, D.C., symbolizes the reach of the Department of Justice as we continue to work with our global partners to disrupt the sense of impunity of those who have supported corruption and the suffering of so many,” said Director Andrew Adams of Task Force KleptoCapture.

Amadea, the US$300 million superyacht belonging to Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov was seized on probable cause of violations of US law, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, money laundering and conspiracy. Picture: Twitter

“This Task Force will continue to bring to bear every resource available in this unprecedented, multinational series of enforcement actions against the Russian regime and its enablers.”

“The U.S. Marshals Service will continue to contribute our expertise in support of Task Force efforts to take possession of seized assets of Russian oligarchs during these forfeiture operations,” said Director Ronald L. Davis of the U.S. Marshals Service.

The seizure was coordinated through the Justice Department’s Task Force KleptoCapture, an interagency law enforcement task force dedicated to enforcing the sweeping sanctions, export controls, and economic countermeasures that the United States, along with its foreign allies and partners, has imposed in response to Russia’s unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine.

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