The U.S. Justice Department says the seizure of the Russian luxury yacht, the Amadea in Fiji is a lesson to anyone trying to violate U.S. laws, and that they cannot hide “even in the remotest part of the world”.
The Amadea, is said to be owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov, and is believed to be worth approximately US$300 million or more.
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 malign activity around the globe, including the occupation of Crimea.
In sanctioning Kerimov, the Treasury Department also cited Kerimov as an official of the Government of the Russian Federation and a member of the Russian Federation Counsel.
“This ruling should make clear that there is no hiding place for the assets of individuals who violate U.S. 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 statement overnight. “The Justice Department will be relentless in our efforts to hold accountable those who facilitate the death and destruction we are witnessing in Ukraine.”
“Last month, I warned that the department had its eyes on every yacht purchased with dirty money,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “This yacht seizure should tell every corrupt Russian oligarch that they cannot hide – not even in the remotest part of the world. We will use every means of enforcing the sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war in Ukraine.”
“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. “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.”
According to court documents, Kerimov owned the Amadea after his designation. Additionally, Kerimov and those acting on his behalf and for his benefit caused U.S. dollar transactions to be routed through U.S. financial institutions for the support and maintenance of the Amadea.
“This seizure of Suleiman Kerimov’s vessel, the Amadea, nearly 8,000 miles from Washington, D.C., symbolizes the reach of the Department of Justice as we continue to work with our global partners to disrupt the sense of impunity of those who have supported corruption and the suffering of so many,” said Director Andrew Adams of Task Force KleptoCapture. “This Task Force will continue to bring to bear every resource available in this unprecedented, multinational series of enforcement actions against the Russian regime and its enablers.”
The U.S. government thanked Fijian authorities for their assistance after, upon receipt of a mutual legal assistance request from the United States, Fijian authorities executed the request, obtaining a domestic seizure warrant from a Fijian court.
This matter is being investigated by the FBI’s New York Field Office with assistance from the FBI Legal Attaché Office in Canberra, Australia, the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, and the U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji.