US spends $20 million to maintain superyacht seized from Russian oligarch

US spends $20 million to maintain superyacht seized from Russian oligarch
US spends $20 million to maintain superyacht seized from Russian oligarch

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - WASHINGTON — The US government is spending nearly $1 million a month to maintain a luxury superyacht seized from a sanctioned Russian oligarch as part of the Justice Department’s effort to put pressure on the Kremlin.

The 348-foot Amadea was one of the first trophies prosecutors claimed as part of a task force effort to hold Russians friendly to the Kremlin accountable.

The superyacht was seized while docked in a port in Fiji in 2022 by local law enforcement officials and the FBI. US prosecutors allege its owner, Suleiman Kerimov, who made his fortune in gold, violated US sanctions by using the US banking system to cover expenses for the vessel. The yacht has been docked in San Diego.

Now, federal prosecutors have asked a judge for permission to sell the vessel saying its expenses are excessive and has cost the government about $20 million, according to recent court filings.

A recent appraisal values it at $230 million, according to the US Marshals Service.

“It is ‘excessive’ for taxpayers to pay nearly a million dollars per month to maintain the Amadea when these expenses, could be reduced to zero through interlocutory sale,” prosecutors wrote in a filing earlier this month.

The monthly costs total roughly $600,000 to maintain the yacht, plus $144,000 in insurance, according to court records. With occasional one-off fees to cover dry docking expenses it adds another $178,000 a month, placing the overall bill at $922,000 a month, the records said.

Eduard Khudainatov and Millemarin Investments came forward to claim the superyacht. They oppose the sale and said the judge shouldn’t allow it until their motion to dismiss the civil forfeiture complaint is decided.

They told the judge that they’ve “offered to reimburse the government for the costs it has incurred for maintaining the Amadea in exchange for its return. That offer stands. Maintaining the Amadea is certainly expensive, and Claimants never intended for U.S. taxpayers to shoulder that burden. But the wrongful decision to seize it was made by the government, knowing what the costs to American taxpayers would entail.”

Prosecutors said a decision on that motion could take many more months, racking up the bill to maintain the vessel. — CNN

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