Putin-Linked Superyacht Frozen at Italian Port Before It Could Sail - Rolling Stone
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‘Putin’s Superyacht’ Grabbed by Italian Authorities Before It Could Sail Away

Scheherazade, the $700 million boat U.S. officials believe belongs to Russian president, had been dry-docked and under investigation since March

CARRARA, ITALY - MARCH 23: The superyacht 'Scheherazade', which has been linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is moored in the port at Marina di Carrara on March 23, 2022 in Carrara, Italy. The yacht 'Scheherazade', which is about 140 meters long and worth over 700 million dollars, is moored at the 'The Italian Sea Group' shipyard. Those onboard deny it is Putin's and claim it is owned by a non-oligarch Russian owner. Yesterday, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, during his speech to the Italian Parliament requested the seizure of the yacht. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)CARRARA, ITALY - MARCH 23: The superyacht 'Scheherazade', which has been linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is moored in the port at Marina di Carrara on March 23, 2022 in Carrara, Italy. The yacht 'Scheherazade', which is about 140 meters long and worth over 700 million dollars, is moored at the 'The Italian Sea Group' shipyard. Those onboard deny it is Putin's and claim it is owned by a non-oligarch Russian owner. Yesterday, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, during his speech to the Italian Parliament requested the seizure of the yacht. (Photo by Laura Lezza/Getty Images)

The superyacht 'Scheherazade'

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A superyacht believed to be owned by Russian president Vladimir Putin was “frozen” by Italian authorities Friday before the ship could set sail from port.

The $700 million, 459-foot Scheherazade, worth approximately $700 million, had been under investigation since March, when Italian authorities boarded the ship as part of the European Union’s sanctions against Russian oligarchs in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

While Scheherazade’s ownership was under question, anti-corruption journalists working with jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny long claimed that the ship belonged to Putin; U.S. officials also linked the Scheherazade to Putin, the New York Times reported.

A subsequent report by Italian newspaper La Stampa connected the Scheherazade through shell companies to Russian oligarch Eduard Yurievich Khudainatov, former president of Russian oil company Rosneft, though his “ownership” is believed to obfuscate the real owner of the ship.

(Forbes notes that Khudainatov — who does not face EU sanctions — is also accused of being a “proxy” owner of the Amadea, a superyacht owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov.)

The investigation into the Scheherazade — dry-docked at the Marina di Carrara since September for maintenance — hastened in recent days as it appeared the ship was preparing to imminently set sail, which would have removed it from the jurisdiction of EU sanctions. Before that could happen, however, the Italian Minister of Economy and Finance announced a “freezing decree” of the Scheherazade before it could leave the dock.

In announcing the freeze, the Minister of Economy and Finance Daniele Franco said their investigation found “the presence of significant economic and business links of the beneficial owner of the boat Scheherazade with prominent elements of the Russian government.”

If Putin did in fact own the Scheherazade, he didn’t have much time to enjoy it: Forbes reports that the ship was built in 2020, and that some of its perks included an on-ship movie theater, beauty salon, spa and helicopter pad.

The Scheherazade is the latest superyacht targeted in the ongoing sanctions against Russian oligarchs, following the seizure of Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov’s custom-built 512-foot yacht Dilbar as well as the Amore Vero, a superyacht belonging to Igor Sechin, the Russian oil oligarch dubbed “Darth Vader.”

In This Article: Vladimir Putin, Yacht

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