mcloudy.png
Tuesday October 4th, 2022 8:52AM

Fiji says US can seize Russian superyacht but not right away

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A judge in Fiji has ruled that U.S. authorities can seize a Russian-owned superyacht — but has put a hold on his order until at least Friday while defense lawyers mount a challenge.

The yacht Amadea — worth $325 million — had earlier been stopped from leaving the South Pacific nation because of its links to Russia. That order will stand for now, preventing U.S. authorities from taking the yacht to Hawaii or elsewhere.

A question remains over which of two Russian oligarchs really owns the Amadea, with only one of them facing sanctions. There are also questions about how far U.S. jurisdiction extends into Fiji.

Suva High Court Justice Deepthi Amaratunga on Tuesday granted an order allowing the U.S. to seize the superyacht after the U.S. had earlier filed a warrant. But the judge has also allowed for a pause while defense lawyers put together their challenge.

The judge's next decision in the case will come on Friday, when he will decide whether to continue to put a hold on the yacht's seizure pending a formal appeal by the defense.

The U.S. Justice Department in March announced the creation of a team of federal agents and prosecutors to pursue wealthy Russians or those aiding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The team, called Task Force KleptoCapture, was set up to seize assets belonging to oligarchs with the aim of pressuring Russia to end the war.

The U.S. claims the real owner of the superyacht Amadea is Suleiman Kerimov. The economist and former Russian politician was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2018 for alleged money laundering and has faced further sanctions from Canada, Europe, Britain and other nations after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Kerimov made a fortune investing in Russian gold producer Polyus, with Forbes magazine putting his net worth at $14.5 billion.

But defense lawyers claim the real owner is Eduard Khudainatov, the former chairman and chief executive of Rosneft, the state-controlled Russian oil and gas company. Khudainatov currently does not appear to face any sanctions, unlike many oligarchs and people with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin who have been sanctioned since the war began.

As with many superyachts, determining the real ownership of the Amadea is difficult due to the shadowy trail of trusts and shell companies. On paper, the superyacht is registered in the Cayman Islands and owned by Millemarin Investments Ltd., also based in the Cayman Islands.

Defense lawyers have claimed in court that Millemarin Investments Ltd. is the legal owner of the vessel and that the company is linked to the real, or beneficial, owner, Khudainatov. But U.S. authorities have claimed that behind all the various fronts, the real owner is Kerimov.

On April 19, after the yacht had sailed into Fiji from Mexico, the High Court in Suva ordered that the Amadea not leave Fiji until the merits of the U.S. warrant to seize the vessel were determined. Perhaps reflecting the question over ownership, the court later ordered Fijian prosecutors to amend an original summons, which named just Kerimov, to also include Millemarin Investments Ltd. as a second respondent to the case.

For now, the yacht continues to sit in a Fijian harbor with its crew of about 25 rotating on and off the vessel, while a police officer remains on board to ensure it stays put.

According to Boat International, the Amadea is 106 meters long and was built in 2017. It features a stainless steel albatross that extends off the bow and weighs more than 5 tons, a live lobster tank in the galley, a 10-meter (33-foot) pool, a hand-painted Pleyel piano and a large helipad.

The U.S. Embassy in Suva earlier said in a statement that the U.S. was acting with allies and partners around the world to impose costs on Russia because of its “war of choice.”

“We continue to ratchet up the pressure on Putin’s oligarchs and we are working with allies and partners to go after corrupt gains from some of the individuals closest to Putin, no matter where they are held around the world,” the embassy said.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Residents wary as fire burns near northeast New Mexico town
Residents of the small northeast New Mexico town of Las Vegas have been watching aircraft disappear into a giant plume of smoke to fight a growing wildfire that has burned hundreds of square miles, destroyed about 170 homes and threatens more destruction
1:00AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Fiji says US can seize Russian superyacht but not right away
A judge in Fiji has ruled that U.S. authorities can seize a Russian-owned superyacht — but not until at least Friday while defense lawyers mount a challenge
12:51AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Mr. 2,000: Baker becomes 12th manager to reach 2,000 wins
Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker has won his 2,000th game, becoming the 12th skipper in major league history to reach the milestone and the first Black man to do it
12:50AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
New Mexico governor seeking US disaster status for wildfire
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is asking President Joe Biden to declare a disaster as firefighters scramble to clear brush, build fire lines and spray water to keep the largest blaze burning in the U.S. from destroying more homes
12:04AM ( 1 hour ago )
Election 2022: JD Vance wins Ohio's GOP Senate primary
“Hillbilly Elegy” author JD Vance has won Ohio’s contentious and hyper-competitive GOP Senate primary, buoyed by Donald Trump’s endorsement in a race widely seen as an early test of the former president’s hold on his party
11:53PM ( 1 hour ago )
Live updates l Midterm results show strong Trump influence
The midterm election season began in earnest Tuesday with primaries in Indiana and Ohio
11:27PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Live updates l Green wins GOP bid for Indiana US House seat
Jennifer-Ruth Green has won the Republican nomination in a northwestern Indiana congressional district that the GOP is looking to capture after several decades as a Democratic stronghold
10:46PM ( 2 hours ago )
Russia storms Mariupol plant as some evacuees reach safety
Ukrainian fighters say Russian forces have begun storming a sprawling steel plant in the besieged port city of Mariupol
10:37PM ( 2 hours ago )
Live updates l Houchin wins GOP Indiana congressional race
Former state Sen. Erin Houchin has won the crowded Republican primary for an open congressional seat from a solidly GOP district in southern Indiana
10:18PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Asian shares slip ahead of Fed interest rate decision
Shares are mostly lower in Asia, with markets in China, Japan and some other markets still closed for holidays
11:55PM ( 1 hour ago )
Live updates l Trump buoys Gilbert to Ohio GOP House win
Donald Trump-endorsed Republican Madison Gesiotto Gilbert has won a crowded primary for an open U.S. House seat in northeast Ohio
10:57PM ( 2 hours ago )
Live updates | Ukrainians wait in Mexico City for US entry
Hundreds of Ukrainian refugees are camping out in Mexico City and waiting for the U.S. government to allow them into the country
10:45PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Starbucks reports record Q2 sales, enhances worker benefits
Starbucks’ sales climbed to a record $7.6 billion in its fiscal second quarter, but its profits took a hit from climbing labor costs
7:36PM ( 5 hours ago )
Airbnb posts much smaller Q1 loss, revenue doubles from 2021
Airbnb is getting a boost from the rebound in travel
6:53PM ( 6 hours ago )
Washington reaches $518M settlement with opioid distributors
Months into a complex trial over their role in flooding Washington with highly addictive painkillers, the nation’s three largest opioid distributors have agreed to pay the state $518 million
5:13PM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
Residents wary as fire burns near northeast New Mexico town
Residents of the small northeast New Mexico town of Las Vegas have been watching aircraft disappear into a giant plume of smoke to fight a growing wildfire that has burned hundreds of square miles, destroyed about 170 homes and threatens more destruction
1:00AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Mr. 2,000: Baker becomes 12th manager to reach 2,000 wins
Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker has won his 2,000th game, becoming the 12th skipper in major league history to reach the milestone and the first Black man to do it
12:50AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Avs erupt for 5 goals in 1st, beat Predators 7-2 in Game 1
Nathan MacKinnon and Devon Toews scored 22 seconds apart in a five-goal first period, sending the Colorado Avalanche to a 7-2 win over the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series
12:45AM ( 32 minutes ago )
Malkin's tip lifts Penguins past Rangers in 3OTs in Game 1
Evgeni Malkin scored on a deflection 5:58 into the third overtime, giving the Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 1 of their first-round series
12:28AM ( 50 minutes ago )
Ukraine hopes for more evacuations from besieged steel mill
Ukrainian officials and the United Nations say they hope to arrange more evacuations from the bombed-out steel mill in Mariupol
12:15AM ( 1 hour ago )