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April 5, 2022

Spain impounds Russian oligarch’s superyacht at US request

The Russian yacht has allegedly been detained for breaching US bank fraud, money laundering and sanction statutes.

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Spanish authorities have seized a $90m motor yacht, dubbed Tango, belonging to sanctioned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, at the request of the US.

The Spanish court order was implemented following a request from the US Department of Justice (DOJ) for help after the issuance of a seizure warrant filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

At present, the 255ft luxury yacht is docked in Mallorca, the largest island in Spain’s Balearic Islands.

According to the DOJ, the Russian yacht was confiscated for breaching US bank fraud, money laundering and sanction statutes.

Authorities separately filed seizure warrants in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, targeting recovery of around $625,000 linked to sanctioned parties held at nine US financial institutions.

“Those seizures are based on sanctions violations by several Russian specially designated nationals,” the DOJ stated.

According to documents filed in the case, a US probe found that Vekselberg used shell companies to blur his stake in the yacht in a bid to evade bank supervision into US dollar transactions.

The warrant also charged that Vekselberg and people working on his behalf continued to make US dollar payments through US banks for the support and maintenance of Tango even after Vekselberg was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department on 6 April 2018.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland said: “Today marks our taskforce’s first seizure of an asset belonging to a sanctioned individual with close ties to the Russian regime. It will not be the last.

“Together, with our international partners, we will do everything possible to hold accountable any individual whose criminal acts enable the Russian Government to continue its unjust war.”

Last month, Spanish officials impounded a superyacht, called Crescent, owned by Russian oligarch Igor Sechin.

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