Imagine you are the captain of a big ol’ superyacht that cost the annual social budget of Moldova and the Daily Telegraph rings your mum and asks if her son is working for the Devil. And your mum announces to the world’s media that she hopes not and that she would be very cross if she found out that he was.
This is what happened to Captain Guy of the Scheherazade which according to Russian activists and the locals of Marina di Carrara is owned by ‘Mad Vlad’ Putin. (we can’t reveal Captain Guy’s surname because we may have unknowingly signed an NDA sometime in the past. Google it as Google does not do confidentiality clauses in the same way Tony Blair and the Labour government of the 1990s did not ‘Do God’, or Silvio Berlusconi did not do taxes.)
According to Imperial Yachts, who say they do know, but are not telling, the big teases, the owner is not Putin. Captain Guy also swears blind it is not Vlad’s yacht and that the Devil Incarnate has never set foot on the Scheherazade – and he should know as he is the captain, Guy that is, not the Devil.
Without resolving the very difficult task of unpeeling the Russian Babushka of shell companies and trusts and SPVs, we cannot say with any degree of certainty anything about the Scheherazade, except that Putin has not once enjoyed Owner’s privileges while Captain Guy has been at the helm. And this is entirely believable. Putin may have only visited the yacht via a Zoom call on a secure Kremlin line, just to have a virtual rummage.
Putin does not seem like a yacht guy. He has spoken disparagingly about the oligarchs scoffing quail’s eggs on their floating palaces in the Med. Not for him the photo op Jeff Bezos style in St Barts, in a tight shirt showing your sexy pecs and equally sexy girlfriend. He is more a Hunting Bear guy, hunting bare, or at least sans chemise.
Putin is not about the lifestyle, the shiny things and the glamour. Putin is Power, raw and naked. If the oligarchs have their superyachts, he is going to have the biggest and they probably paid for it.
It is not inconceivable that Putin has the biggest, most expensive, most fabulous yacht of them all, simply because he can. And just to show how powerful he is, he didn’t even set foot on it. It was never about the Benjamins. It was always about the Power, scaring the West and all potential challengers