- The US is seeking to seize a superyacht thought to be owned by sanctioned oligarch Suleyman Kerimov.
- The $325 million vessel docked in Fiji on April 13.
- Fiji's director of public prosecutions has filed applications asking the High Court to restrain the vessel.
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The US is seeking to seize a $325 million superyacht moored in Fiji linked to sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleyman Kerimov.
Christopher Pryde, Fiji's director of public prosecutions, filed applications with the High Court on Tuesday "seeking orders (i) that the motor yacht Amadea be restrained from leaving Fijian waters until the finalisation of an application to register a warrant to seize the property and (ii) that a US warrant to seize the Amadea be registered."
The Court has not yet set a date for hearing the applications, which were first reported by Reuters.
Pryde's office did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment on why the applications were filed and for details of the vessel's owner. The US Treasury and Department of Justice did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
The Amadea docked in Lautoka, Fiji's second largest city, on April 13 after an 18-day voyage from Mexico's Pacific coast, data from vessel-tracking site Marine Traffic shows. An official at the National Police Command and Control Centre previously told Reuters that the yacht's captain had been questioned by police, who said that the vessel had arrived in Fiji without customs clearance.
Western countries have placed sweeping sanctions on Russia after President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Ukraine. As well as banning transactions with Russia's central bank and blocking the trade of luxury goods, the West has been sanctioning Russian elites and seizing their assets – including their private jets, superyachts, and property – to put pressure on the country to halt its invasion of Ukraine. Fiji hasn't imposed sanctions on Russia.
Kerimov was sanctioned by the EU and UK on March 15. The EU said that Kerimov is "a member of the inner circle of oligarchs" close to Putin and that he had attended a meeting of oligarchs at the Kremlin with Putin in late February to discuss the impact of Western sanctions.
Kerimov had already been sanctioned by the US in 2018, who said he was a member of the Russian Federation Council and had been accused of both money laundering in France and failing to pay 400 million euros ($432 million) in taxes on villas.
Kerimov is worth around $14.3 billion, as per estimates from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Kerimov owns Nafta Moscow, a financial and industrial group in Russia, and his family owns a controlling stake in Polyus Gold, which claims to be Russia's biggest gold producer.
Assets belonging to sanctioned oligarchs have been seized by nations including France, Italy, and Spain. The first yacht to be seized under the latest US sanctions was the $90 million superyacht Tango – believed to belong to sanctioned Russian oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg – which was detained by authorities on the Spanish island of Mallorca on April 4, following a request from the US Department of Justice.
Kerimov's son, Said Kerimov, owns the superyacht ICE, thought to be worth around $170 million.