Washington (Reuters) – Authorities in Fiji have seized a $300 million yacht of Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov at the request of the United States, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday, as Washington and its allies press Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
A Fiji court had ruled on Tuesday that the United States can seize a Russian-owned superyacht, weeks after it arrived and was impounded by police.
Authorities in various countries have seized luxury vessels and villas owned by Russian billionaires in response to sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, which Russia calls a special military operation.
Kerimov was sanctioned by the United States in 2014 and 2018 in response to Russia’s actions in Syria and Ukraine. He has also been sanctioned by the European Union.
The U.S. Justice Department’s Taskforce KleptoCapture has focused on seizing yachts and other luxury assets to put the finances of Russian oligarchs under strain in a bid to pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin over the war in Ukraine.
The luxury vessel, the Amadea, arrived in Fiji last month after an 18-day voyage across the Pacific from Mexico.
The U.S. 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 activities around the globe, including the occupation of Crimea.