The United States filed a civil forfeiture complaint Monday against a 348-foot yacht, Amadea, which is owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov.
In the complaint, filed in the Southern District of New York, the Department of Justice (DOJ) argued the $300 million yacht is forfeitable since it was “improved and maintained” in violation of U.S. sanctions against Kerimov and those acting on his behalf.
According to the DOJ, after sanctions were imposed, Kerimov arranged to purchase the superyacht in September 2021 through “a series of transfers between shell companies designed to conceal his ownership of the yacht.”
The DOJ claimed Kerimov subsequently traveled on the yacht extensively and made plans with his family for “extensive renovations” of the vessel and “assumed all liability and responsibility for the Amadea’s upkeep.”
“During that time, individuals or entities acting on Kerimov’s behalf accrued U.S. dollar-denominated costs for the Amadea’s upkeep and sent or caused to be sent through the U.S. financial systems, payments in violation of applicable sanctions,” the DOJ wrote in a press release on the claim.
The DOJ noted that Amadea is now docked in San Diego and under U.S. control. U.S. officials worked with Fiji law enforcement to seize the ship.
The DOJ acknowledged that the burden is on the government to provide sufficient evidence in the case but said the undertaking only proves how committed the U.S. government is in enforcing the sanctions.
“The filing of this complaint exemplifies that the United States takes sanction evasion seriously and will use all tools at its disposal to ensure that sanctioned individuals are held accountable for their crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams.