FBI: Russian Oligarch’s $300 Million Luxury Yacht Seized in Fiji

May 5, 2022Carl Prine

On Thursday, May 5, 2022, Fijian law enforcement executed a seizure warrant freezing the motor yacht Amadea, a 348-foot luxury vessel owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov. US Department of Justice photo.

Police officers on the island nation of Fiji have seized the Amadea, a $300 million luxury yacht owned by Russian oligarch Suleiman Abusaidovich Kerimov.

The Thursday raid in the port of Lautoka stemmed from a federal court order signed last month that placed the Cayman Islands-flagged 348-foot vessel into forfeiture following allegations that Kerimov violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and laundered money.

“This ruling should make clear that there is no hiding place for the assets of individuals who violate US laws. And there is no hiding place for the assets of criminals who enable the Russian regime,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in a prepared statement. “The Justice Department will be relentless in our efforts to hold accountable those who facilitate the death and destruction we are witnessing in Ukraine.”

A member of the Russian Federation Council with close ties to Kremlin strongman Vladimir Putin, Kerimov was detained in France on Nov. 20, 2017, and held for two days on suspicion of bringing hundreds of millions of euros there, often stuffed into suitcases, without reporting the currency to tax authorities.

Five months later, the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control slapped Kerimov, 56, with economic sanctions, alleging that he launders funds by purchasing villas. The oligarch holds large stakes in Russian natural gas, gold, and banking companies.

Luxury Yacht
On Thursday, May 5, 2022, Fijian law enforcement executed a seizure warrant freezing the motor yacht Amadea, a 348-foot luxury vessel owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov. US Department of Justice photo.

According to a highly redacted FBI affidavit buttressing the seizure of the yacht, Kerimov allegedly has tried to hide his Aug. 16, 2021, purchase of the vessel by using shell companies and Cayman Island law firms to transfer the yacht’s title.

On Feb. 24 — the day Russia invaded Ukraine — agents say the Amadea’s crew turned off its automated information system, which acts like a beacon in case of a maritime calamity. It remained off intermittently as the yacht sailed from the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, to Mexico, and then to Fiji.

They also estimate that Kerimov must spend up to $30 million annually to maintain and license the luxury vessel, transactions that are conducted in dollars the oligarch is forbidden by the US Treasury to use, often flowing through US financial institutions his wealth is banned from entering.

US agents joined Spain’s Guardia Civil authorities to board and seize luxury yacht Tango on April 4, 2022, while it was moored on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca. Screenshot via US Department of Justice video.

Although paperwork filed by the Amadea’s crew indicates their next destination is the Philippines, FBI agents suspect they were trying to abscond to the Russian port of Vladivostok, beyond the reach of international law enforcement.

“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 in a prepared statement. “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.”

Read Next: Authorities Seize $90 Million Yacht of Russian Oligarch Close to Strongman Vladimir Putin  

Carl Prine
Carl Prine

Carl Prine is a former senior editor at Coffee or Die Magazine. He has worked at Navy Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
dear jack mandaville
Dear Jack: Which Historic Battle Would You Want To Witness?

Ever wonder how much Jack Mandaville would f*ck sh*t up if he went back in time? The American Revolution didn't even see him coming.

west point time capsule
West Point Time Capsule Yields Centuries-Old Coins

A nearly 200-year-old West Point time capsule that at first appeared to yield little more than dust contains hidden treasure, the US Military Academy said.

Ouija Board aircraft carrier
Low-Tech ‘Ouija Boards’ Have Helped Aircraft Carriers Operate for Decades

Since the 1920s, a low-tech tabletop replica of an aircraft carrier’s flight deck has been an essential tool in coordinating air operations.

Army vs. Navy mascot
The Navy Goat vs. the Army Mule: Mascot Origin Stories

For nearly as long as the Army-Navy football rivalry, the academies’ hoofed mascots have stared each other down from the sidelines. Here are their stories.

ukraine long-range weapon
Zelenskyy Says Ukraine Has Developed a Long-Range Weapon, a Day After Strike Deep Inside Russia

Zelenskyy said on his Telegram channel the weapon was produced by Ukraine’s Ministry of Strategic Industries but gave no other details.

7 of the Best Movie Ambush Scenes of All Time

Ambushes make for great action scenes. Here are seven of the best to ever grace the big screen.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, with his daughter, center right, reportedly named Ju Ae, review the honor guard during their visit to the navy headquarter in North Korea
North Korea Launches Missile Toward Sea After US Flies Bomber During Drills

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the launch occurred Wednesday but gave no further details, such as how far the missile flew.

  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
Contact Us
© 2023 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved