French authorities on Thursday said they seized a superyacht owned by a Russian oligarch close to President Vladimir Putin, CNBC reports.
The French government said they seized a megayacht worth about $120 million owned by a company linked to Igor Sechin, who runs the Russian energy giant Rosneft.
"French customs carried out the seizure of the yacht Amore Vero in La Ciotat as part of the implementation of sanctions by the European Union against Russia," the French finance ministry said. The yacht is owned by a company “in which Sechin is the main shareholder.”
"As part of the implementation of European Union sanctions against Russia and in support of Ukraine, we seized a first yacht,” tweeted Olivier Dussopt, the French minister of public action and accounts.
The 280-foot yacht was seized after Sechin was included on a list of Russian oligarchs targeted for sanctions by the European Union.
According to the EU, Sechin is one of Putin’s “most trusted and closest advisors, as well as his personal friend.”
Forbes reported on Wednesday that German authorities had also seized a $600 million yacht owned by Russian billionaire Alisher Umanov, but he denied the report.
Multiple sources told the outlet that the 512-foot yacht had been seized.
The ministry in Hamburg said that the German federal customs agency is the “responsible enforcement authority” and would have to issue a waiver to allow the yacht to leave. “No yacht leaves port that is not allowed to do so,” the ministry said.
The yacht is registered in the Cayman Islands and records do not clearly show that Usmanov owns it. The ministry in Hamburg said the yacht can only be seized “if the ownership situation is clearly clarified and all these possessions are also sanctioned.”
Oligarch sells Chelsea team:
Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich said Wednesday that he would sell Chelsea Football Club as the U.K. launches sanctions against oligarchs.
Abramovich said the sale was "in the best interest of the Club, the fans, the employees, as well as the Club's sponsors and partners."
He previously gave up “stewardship” of the club after the invasion.
British lawmaker Chris Bryant called for Abramovich to lose ownership of the club.
Abramovich has not been sanctioned by the U.K., though he said the profits from the sale would be donated to Ukrainian humanitarian causes.
"This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and Club. Moreover, I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine. This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery,” he said.