Fiji’s high court has ruled that the U.S government can seize the ‘Amadea‘, a superyacht docked at the Fijian port of Lautoka since 13 April. The Amadea is believed to be owned by Suleiman Kerimov, a Russian oligarch who is considered a close ally of Vladimir Putin and faces sanctions from the U.S and the EU.
Judge Deepthi Amaratunga granted the request from Fijian authorities to register and enforce U.S warrants to seize the superyacht.
The vessel with a crew of at least 25 was fined by Fijian authorities for breaching immigration regulations when it entered Fiji in early April after an 18-day voyage from Mexico.
The defence claimed the yacht is owned by Eduard Khudainatov, who is not facing sanctions. Defence lawyer Faizal Hanif, acting for the Amadea’s registered owners Millemaria Investment Ltd, asked the court for a stay on the ruling, expressing fears that U.S authorities would sail the vessel out of Fiji.
The judge indicated he would grant a stay order and insist the vessel remain in Fiji during the 30-day appeal period.
Fiji has joined widespread condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.