Viktor Vekselberg, Trump-Loving Russian Oligarch, Has Yacht Seized - Rolling Stone
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Trump-Loving Russian Oligarch’s $90 Million Yacht Seized in Spain

Putin crony Viktor Vekselberg attended the former president’s inauguration before funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars to Michael Cohen

Viktor VekselbergViktor Vekselberg

Russian billionaire and businessman Viktor Vekselberg seen during the 24th Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, on June 3, 2021, in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Several yachts belonging to Russian oligarchs have been commandeered by various law enforcement agencies in retaliation for Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine that started in late February. The latest is a $90-million, 255-foot vessel owned by owned by Putin crony Viktor Vekselberg, which Spanish authorities took hold of at the direction of the United States, the Justice Department announced on Monday.

The yacht, named Tango, was subject to seizure “based on violation of U.S. bank fraud, money laundering, and sanction statutes,” the Justice Department wrote, before noting that Vekselberg was using U.S. banks to maintain the boat despite not having proper licensing to do so from the Treasury Department.

The DOJ even released a sizzle reel of the Tango‘s seizure:

Vekselberg’s name may sound familiar, as he’s long been embroiled in Trump World. He attended Trump’s inauguration in January of 2017, and from then until August of 2017 sent several payments totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars to Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney and fixer, through a company called Columbus Nova. Vekselberg also attended a 2015 dinner in Russia with Michael Flynn, Trump’s first national security adviser who resigned after just weeks on the job after it came to light that he lied about post-election conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the United States. The dinner Flynn attended with Vekselberg was hosted by RT, Russia’s English-language, Kremlin-controlled media network.

Vekselberg drew the interest of U.S. law enforcement in 2018 when the Justice Department slapped sanctions on him and other Putin-connected oligarchs in an effort to punish Russia for interfering in the 2016 election. A month later, Vekselberg was stopped and questioned as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s connection to Russia. The New York Times noted at the time that Vekselberg himself was not suspected of any wrongdoing.

Vekselberg, a multi-billionaire and one of Russia’s richest men, made his fortune by buying up assets after the fall of the Soviet Union. The Washington Post noted in 2018 that he has particularly expensive tastes, and is thought to own the world’s largest collection of Fabergé eggs. Vekselberg’s collection of luxury wares is now absent a yacht.

“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,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement announcing the boat’s seizure. “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.”

In This Article: Viktor Vekselberg


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