The invasion of Ukraine launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin in February caused an international outcry.
Sanctions came thick and fast, aimed at restricting the wealth of those with links to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. The US Congress had authorized targeted interventions against Kremlin loyalists in response to their intelligence agencies’ involvement into election season hacks that America believes were crafted primarily out of FSB; however it wasn’t until late summer when Washington finally announced a slate of names – including Oleg Deripaska (an oligarch Economy), Alex Krackovitch Eugene receive Jr.(a top military prosecutor) Andrey Paraschivev(CEO Of Rusal).
2022 Invasion of Ukraine and sanctions
After the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Canada, US, and European leaders with the addition of Japan, took unprecedented steps to sanction Putin and the oligarchs directly. In response to the sanctions, the targeted oligarchs started to hide wealth in an attempt to prevent the Western nations from freezing their assets. These sanctions intend to directly impact the Russian ruling class as a response for their perceived contribution and acquiescence to the war with Ukraine. Although the sanctions tend to miss the richest oligarchs, the impact on the war is unknown due to Putin’s power over those that were sanctioned Since the invasion began, nine of the Russian oligarchs’ yachts have turned their navigation transponders off as they sail to ports where they are less likely to be searched and seized.
In addition to freezing foreign holdings, restricting travel, and severing business ties, the sanctions aim to impact the personal lives of a number of oligarchs including;
• Vladimir Putin (President of Russia)
• Alexander Aleksandrovich Vedyakhin (Sberbank banking executive)
• Andrey Sergeyevich Puchkov (VTB Bank banking and football chairman)
• Yuriy Alekseyevich Soloviev (FC Dynamo Moscow club chairman and a VTB Bank executive)
• Igor Sechin (Rosneft oil executive and former Deputy Prime Minister of Russia)
• Andrey Patrushev (son of the Secretary of the Security Council of Russia Nikolai Patrushev)
• Sergei Sergeevich Ivanov (Board member of Gazprombank and president of Alrosa diamond mining)
• Kirill Shamalov (Gazprom Executive and former son-in-law of Putin)
• Yury Slyusar (director of United Aircraft Corporation and board member of Aeroflot, Russian Airlines Pjsc and United Aircraft)
• Petr Fradkov (Promsvyazbank executive, son of Mikhail Fradkov)
• Gennady Timchenko (president of Volga Group private equity)
On March 2, 2022, the United States announced a special task force dubbed “Task Force KleptoCapture”. This team was put together to specifically target oligarchs. It is made up of officials from the FBI, Marshals Service, IRS, Postal Inspection Service, Homeland Security Investigations and Secret Service. The main goal of the task force is to impose the sanctions set against these individuals to freeze and seize the assets that the US government claimed were proceeds of their illegal involvement with the Russian government and the invasion of Ukraine.
On March 21, 2022, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project launched Russian Asset Tracker to showcase the profiles and assets of several Russian oligarchs, However, sanctioning and seizing a superyacht costs millions every year in maintenance and berthing. Governments that were keen to be seen as zealoulsy capturing the assets of the oligarchs are much less keen now, with experience, to seize a high maintenance yacht without an exit plan. Auction offers a quick resolution.
Both the EU and Ukraine are exerting maximum pressure on sanctioned superyachts worldwide. The 93m Feadship Royal Romance is slated to be sold at auction. This superyacht is subject too the assets belonging to Viktor Medvedchuk, a Ukrainian oil and media baron who has led a pro-Russian party in Ukraine.
On a separate front, The US Department of Justice are pursuing the seizure of the 99m Madame Gu, also from Feadship, in the UAE. Currently moored in Dubai’s Mina Rashid Marina, the 99m Madame Gu, linked to sanctioned Russian steel magnate and lawmaker Andrei Skoc.
The EU has announced more that it is intensifying its regulations over sanctioned assets. The bloc aims to make sanction breaches a criminal offence, with sanction-busting companies liable to a fine of 5 per cent of revenue.
The European Commission has adopted a proposal to make the violations of sanctions a criminal offence across the European Union.
Better, it seems, to throttle the funds that are needed to keep the superyacht operative.
The Russians are estimated to have represented 10% of the Superyacht fleet – but not every Russian owned yacht is subject to sanctions. And not every oligarch has a yacht.
Several Russian owners have sold their yachts rather than find themselves sanctitoned. The Samax owned by a reclusive Russian was recently sold by Y.CO. Will the market be full soon of run down degraded yachts. Is there a market for pre-loved?