Putin Ally’s Superyacht Seized In Spain On US Warrant

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Tango, a 254-foot luxury yacht valued at $90 million by the US government and alleged to be owned by Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, has been confiscated.

The superyacht of a US-sanctioned Russian tycoon was captured by US and Spanish officials on Monday, marking the first US-involved boat seizure since sanctions against Russia’s ruling class were established in retribution for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Tango, a 254-foot luxury yacht anchored in Spain and believed to be worth $90 million by the US government, was confiscated. The boat is owned by Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, an energy and metal mogul who is a member of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, according to the Department of Justice.

In response to a request from the United States, the vessel was confiscated. Department of Justice seeking help in carrying out a search warrant granted by the United States. The District of Columbia’s District Court.

The United States has sanctioned Vekselberg since 2018, and the Department of Justice said on Monday that Tango had also broken US bank fraud and money laundering laws. The seizure is the first by the US government’s interagency KleptoCapture task group, which was established last month as part of a stepped-up attempt to implement sanctions.

According to the study, Vekselberg has owned Tango continuously since 2011, and he utilized shell businesses affiliated with the yacht to escape bank monitoring of U.S. activities. Prior to being sanctioned, Vekselberg, who has a net worth of over $9 billion, gave to American cultural organizations such as the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall in New York.

POLITICO obtained data from VesselsValue, which revealed 65 superyachts suspected to be owned by Russians. Tango is not a yacht owned by a Russian tycoon, according to the data, and there are no other vessels associated with Vekselberg’s name. VesselsValue speculated that if he did possess another boat, it may go unnoticed.

Since the announcement of sanctions against Russia’s elite in early March, over a dozen superyachts have been seized.