Spain seizes Russian oligarch’s $140M superyacht in Barcelona

Spain announced on Monday that a Russian oligarch’s $140 million yacht had been temporarily seized in Barcelona, citing two individuals who stated the vessel belonged to the head of Russian state firm Rostec, an ally of Russian President Putin.

Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sanchez stated on a local news channel, “Today we’ve seized a yacht belonging to one of the top oligarchs.”

He further said, “There will be more,” without going into detail. Yachts linked to two additional oligarchs who have not yet been sanctioned are also docked in Barcelona, according to the monitoring site Marine Traffic.

As per the sources, the 85-meter (279-foot) superyacht Valerie belongs to a former KGB officer, Sergei Chemezov, who oversees state conglomerate Rostec.

According to a 2021 article published in the Pandora Papers information leak, the yacht is registered to Chemezov’s stepdaughter, Anastasia Ignatova, through a British Virgin Islands corporation and sails under the flag of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the West has sanctioned Russian oligarchs, frozen state assets, and cut off most of the Russian corporate sector from the world economy.

Moreover, Chemezov was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2014, and the U.K. in 2020 over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the U.S. and Australia included his name in sanctions lists this month. Chemezov’s stepdaughter, as well as his wife and son, were also targeted by the U.S. sanctions.

However, he was not mentioned in the most recent European list of sanctioned Russian Figures, but the European Union imposed sanctions against him back in 2014. In the coming days, the EU will reveal its fourth set of measures on Russia.

According to Marine Traffic, the vessel has been in Barcelona since February 9 and was being repaired at the MB92 shipyard until Monday.

Despite the sanctions, Chemezov told colleagues in a message shared with the correspondents this week that Russia will emerge “victorious.”

Zurab Kvaratskhelia

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