Europe

Russians staying clear of the Balearics

Normally at this time of year, Balearics waters, especially Mallorca and Ibiza, would be busy with Russian superyacht traffic, but not this year as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sanctions on Russians being tightened every week.

During the spring peak of March and April in 2019 to 2021, at least nine megayachts tied to tycoons on the current sanctions list stopped in the Balearic Sea, often on multiple visits, according to Spire’s analysis published by Bloomberg.

They included the $100 million Graceful that’s been tied to Putin, and metals billionaire Alisher Usmanov’s now-seized $750 million Dilbar.

Last month, the FBI travelled to Palma to seize the $95 million Tango superyacht tied to Viktor Vekselberg on behalf of the US while it was in Mallorca, amd she is still here.

The Tango is just a sliver of the $1 billion in yachts, planes and artwork — not to mention hundreds of millions in cash — that the United States has identified as belonging to wealthy allies of Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, since the invasion of Ukraine. U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia M. Faruqui, who approved the seizure, called the pursuit of the yacht by a new Justice Department team called task force kleptocapture “just the beginning of the reckoning that awaits those who would facilitate Putin’s atrocities.”

At least three others vessels, including the Lady Anastasia that is also on Mallorca, have been seized by the Spanish government.

The Ukranian chief engineer on board Lady Anastasia tried to sink her after finding out that his boss and the superyacht’s owner was Russian arms manufacturer for Putin.

He was held in custody for 36 hours and on being released flew back to Ukraine to sign up and fight.

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