Italy seizes Russian oligarch’s €65 million superyacht

Italy on Friday seized the yacht of a Russian oligarch seen as close to President Vladimir Putin and is subject to EU sanctions, the government said.

Italy seizes Russian oligarch's €65 million superyacht
A picture taken on March 3, 2022 in a shipyard of La Ciotat, near Marseille, southern France, shows a yacht, Amore Vero, owned by a company linked to Igor Sechin, chief executive of Russian energy giant Rosneft. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP)

“Italy’s police has just seized ‘Lady M Yacht’, a 65 million euros ($70 million) vessel belonging to Alexey Alexandrovits Mordaschov located in Imperia (Liguria) – in compliance with the recent EU sanctions,” Ferdinando Giugliano, a media adviser to Italy’s prime minister, said in a tweet.

Steel magnate Mordashov owns Severstal group and is among the ultra-wealthy, influential Russians blacklisted by Brussels for their perceived closeness to the Kremlin.

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Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, the EU has moved to freeze the assets of connected oligarchs and bar them from entering the bloc.

Mordashov used a statement issued Monday to distance himself from Putin’s war in Ukraine.

“I have absolutely nothing to do with the current geopolitical tensions and I don’t understand why the EU has imposed sanctions on me,” he said.

Italian media have reported that another yacht, the Lena owned by Gennady Timchenko, the billionaire co-founder of commodities trader Gunvor, has been seized in Sanremo.

The first yacht seized as a result of EU sanctions was the Amore Vero, snatched Thursday in the French port of La Ciotat.

The mega-yacht belongs to a company linked to the head of Russian oil giant Rosneft.

Yachts, symbols of the massive wealth accrued by Russia’s elite, are among their overseas assets being targeted by Western sanctions.

The EU sanctions target more than 500 Russian individuals or entities whose assets are to be traced and frozen.

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Italy revokes honours for ‘unworthy’ Russian PM

Italy stripped Russia's Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and three other high-ranking Russians of one of its highest honours on Thursday, saying they no longer deserved it.

Italy revokes honours for 'unworthy' Russian PM

Mishustin and Trade Minister Denis Manturov had been given the title ‘Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of Italy’ in 2020, but President Sergio Mattarella signed a decree revoking the honour, deeming them “unworthy”.

He also stripped the same title from Deputy Industry Minister Viktor Evtukhov and Andrei Kostin, head of Russian state bank VTB.

“The Russian Federation must be placed under strong pressure, which is what we’re doing with the European Union, because a prolonged war in Europe could have incredibly serious consequences,” Mattarella warned on Thursday after a meeting with his Algerian counterpart in Rome.

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The Order of the Star of Italy was created in 2011 to replace the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity, which was awarded to people who helped rebuild the country after World War II.

It is awarded by the president to Italians or foreigners who have worked to “promote friendship and collaboration between Italy and other countries”.