Russian Billionaires Move Superyachts to Island Nation that Does Not Have Extradition Treaty With U.S.

Russian Billionaires Move Superyachts to Island Nation that Does Not Have Extradition Treaty With U.S.

Russian billionaires are on the run, moving their superyachts to an island nation that does not have an extradition treaty with the United States out of fear of possible actions taken against them in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

On Wednesday, March 2nd, at least five superyachts owned by Russian billionaires were seen anchored or cruising in the waters of the Maldives — an island nation in the Indian Ocean that does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S. — according to ship tracking data.

The arrival of these ships comes soon after Western nations began imposing severe sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine that began on February 24th.

According to reporting from Reuters:

“Late on Wednesday Forbes reported that Germany had seized Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov’s mega yacht in a Hamburg shipyard. Usmanov was on a list of billionaires to face sanctions from the European Union on Monday. A Forbes report based on three sources in the yacht industry said his 512-foot yacht Dilbar, valued at $600 million, was seized by German authorities. German authorities did not immediately respond to Reuters inquiries. Forbes said representatives for Usmanov did not immediately respond to a request for comment.”

The superyachts seen in the Maldives include:

  • The Clio superyacht, owned by Oleg Deripaska, the founder of aluminum giant Rusal, seen anchored off of Male on March 2nd, according to shipping database MarineTraffic.
  • The Titan superyacht, which arrived on February 28th. The ship is owned by Alexander Abramov, co-founder of steel producer Evraz.
  • The Nirvana, owned by Russia’s richest man, Vladimir Potanin.
  • Two other yachts not identified by Reuters’ report.

Most of these vessels were last seen anchored in ports in the Middle East earlier in the year.

The U.S. has said that it would be taking strict action to seize property of sanctioned Russians. In a tweet sent out on Sunday, February 27th, the White House said:

“This coming week, we will launch a multilateral Transatlantic task force to identify, hunt down, and freeze the assets of sanctioned Russian companies and oligarchs – their yachts, their mansions, and any other ill-gotten gains that we can find and freeze under the law.”

The U.S. had already imposed sanctions on Deripaska and other influential Russians back in 2018 because of their ties to Vladimir Putin following the alleged Russian interference in the 2016, which Russia has denied.

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