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Russia billionaires move superyachts to the Maldives

Ship-tracking data showed over five superyachts owned by Russian billionaires anchored or cruising on Wednesday in the Maldives. An island nation that does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.

The vessels’ arrival in the archipelago off the coast of Sri Lanka follows the imposition of severe Western sanctions on Russia in reprisal for its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Late on Wednesday, Forbes reported that Germany had seized Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov’s mega yacht in a Hamburg shipyard.

Usmanov is listed as one of the billionaires to face sanctions from the European Union on Monday. A Forbes report based on three sources in the yacht industry said his 512-foot yacht Dilbar, valued at $600 million, was seized by German authorities.

German authorities did not immediately respond to Reuters’ inquiries. Forbes said representatives for Usmanov did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Wednesday, the superyacht owned by Oleg Deripaska, The Clio, was anchored off the capital (Male). Oleg Deripaska is the founder of aluminum giant Rusal . The United States sanctioned him in 2018. The database MarineTraffic informed.

The Titan, owned by Alexander Abramov, a co-founder of steel producer Evraz, arrived on Feb. 28.

On Wednesday, the data showed three more yachts owned by Russian billionaires cruising in Maldives waters. They include the 88-meter (288 ft) Nirvana owned by Russia’s richest man, Vladimir Potanin. Most vessels were last seen anchored in Middle Eastern ports earlier in the year.

A spokesperson for Maldives’ government did not respond to a request for comment.

The United States has said it will take strict action to seize the property of sanctioned Russians.

“This coming week, we will launch a multilateral Transatlantic task force to identify, hunt down, and freeze the assets of sanctioned Russian companies and oligarchs – their yachts, their mansions, and any other ill-gotten gains that we can find and freeze under the law,” the White House said in a tweet on Sunday.

Washington imposed sanctions on Deripaska and other influential Russians in 2018 because of their ties to President Vladimir Putin after alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, which Moscow denies.

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