- The FBI has found evidence implicating Suleiman Kerimov in US crimes.
- Authorities found documents when boarding the superyacht on Thursday, per Australia’s ABC News.
- The Amadea was seized on Thursday by Fijian law enforcement at the request of US authorities.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation found evidence incriminating the owner of a superyacht that was seized by Fijian authorities on Thursday, reports say.
Australia’s ABC News first reported the story.
The US requested the seizure of Suleiman Kerimov’s $325 million superyacht, which the FBI and Fijian law enforcement worked together to achieve.
According to a statement from the Department of Justice, the seizure warrant was issued amid evidence the vessel “Amadea” was subject to forfeiture based on “probable cause” of violations of US law, money laundering, and conspiracy.
The DOJ reported that court documents showed Kerimov owned the vessel after his designation as a Russian government official.
The 350-foot superyacht was previously reported to be heading for the Fijian port of Nadi but is now located in Lautoka, Fiji. Its owner, Kerimov, is thought to be Russia’s ninth-richest person with a fortune of around $14.5 billion, according to Forbes. He has been sanctioned by the US, EU, and the UK over alleged money laundering and his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Kerimov is among individuals who have been sanctioned for being part of Vladimir Putin’s close circles. The oligarchs have been scrutinized by the West and their assets have been seized, frozen, or detained.
The US Department of Justice said in a statement on Thursday that according to court documents, Kerimov and those who acted on his behalf “caused US dollar transactions to be routed through US financial institutions for the support and maintenance of the Amadea.”
Insider previously reported that the maintenance cost of a superyacht can be up to 15% of its value. Vessels that are not properly maintained could cause environmental issues.
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in the statement: “This ruling should make clear that there is no hiding place for the assets of individuals who violate US laws. And there is no hiding place for the assets of criminals who enable the Russian regime. “
“The Justice Department will be relentless in our efforts to hold accountable those who facilitate the death and destruction we are witnessing in Ukraine.”
Western sanctions have prompted the seizure of superyachts, mansions, and private jets linked to some of Russia’s richest people. Some have attempted to evade sanctions by moving their assets to friendly jurisdictions.
Deputy attorney general Lisa O. Monaco said: “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.”