Next week, a judge in Fiji will decide whether American authorities can seize the $325 million (€308 million) luxury superyacht Amadea, which has been prevented from departing the South Pacific nation due to its ties to Russia.
However, it is still unclear which oligarch controls the Amadea, as only one of the two potential candidates faces sanctions.
The true proprietor may be Suleiman Kerimov. This is what the US asserts.
An economist and former Russian politician, Kerimov, was sanctioned by the United States in 2018 for alleged money laundering and faced additional sanctions from Canada, Europe, and the United Kingdom following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Forbes magazine estimates Kerimov’s net worth to be $14.5 billion (€13.77 billion) thanks to his investment in the Russian gold producer Polyus.
Or, is Eduard Khudainatov the true owner? That is what defense attorneys assert.
Khudainatov is the former chairman and CEO of Rosneft, the Russian state-owned oil and gas corporation. Importantly, Khudainatov does not presently appear to be subject to any sanctions, unlike numerous oligarchs and individuals with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin who have been sanctioned since the beginning of the war.
Ownership concealed behind sham corporations
As with many superyachts, it is challenging to determine the true owner of the Amadea due to the murky trail of trusts and shell companies. On paper, the superyacht is registered in the Cayman Islands and is owned by Millemarin Investments Ltd.
Attorneys for the defense have asserted in court that Millemarin Investments Ltd. is the legal proprietor of the vessel and that the company is affiliated with Khudainatov, the true owner. US authorities, however, assert that Kerimov is the true owner behind all the numerous fronts.
After the yacht had arrived in Fiji from Mexico on April 19, the High Court in Suva issued an order prohibiting the Amadea from leaving Fiji until the merits of the US seizure warrant were determined. Possibly reflecting the ownership dispute, the court subsequently ordered Fijian prosecutors to add Millemarin Investments Ltd. as a second defendant to a summons originally named only Kerimov.
Currently, the yacht remains in a Fijian harbor with approximately 25 crew members rotating on and off while a police officer remains on board to assure its stability.
The US Embassy in Suva issued a statement indicating that the United States was acting with allies and partners around the globe to impose costs on Russia for its “war of choice.”
The embassy stated, “We continue to increase pressure on Putin’s oligarchs and are working with allies and partners to pursue corrupt gains from some of Putin’s closest associates, no matter where they are held in the world.”
How is life aboard the luxury yacht Amadea?
According to Boat International, the 106-meter-long Amadea was constructed by a German manufacturer in 2017.
It is characterized as “one of the world’s most private and exclusive superyachts with a closely guarded layout and interior.”
The Amadea has eight accommodations on six decks, private lounges with fire pits, dining areas, a bar, and a 10-meter infinity pool. In addition to a large helicopter landing platform, the ship features a spa with hammam treatments, an outdoor cinema, and a lobster tank in the galley.
The apartment of the proprietor has its own bar, fitness center, private office, beauty room, stateroom with fire pit, His and Hers dressing and bathrooms, and a private jacuzzi.