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Fijian authorities seize yacht of Russian oligarch after Justice Department request

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Fijian authorities seize yacht of Russian oligarch after Justice Department request
The $300 million luxury Motor Yacht Amadea has been seized in Fiiji, after a request by the U.S. Department of Justice. Photo courtesy of U.S. Justice Department

May 5 (UPI) -- Authorities in Fiji seized a yacht owned by a sanctioned Russian oligarch, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

The Motor Yacht Amadea is a 348-foot luxury vessel owned by Suleiman Kerimov and valued at $300 million.

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Fijian law enforcement seized the yacht almost 8,000 miles from the United States, with assistance from the FBI, after a request for mutual assistance from the Department of Justice. A seizure warrant was issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The court ruled the Amadea is subject to forfeiture based on probable cause of violations of U.S. law, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, money laundering and conspiracy.

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The seizure was coordinated through the Justice Department's Task Force KleptoCapture, an interagency law enforcement task force dedicated to enforcing the sweeping sanctions.

"This seizure demonstrates the FBI's persistence in pursuing sanctioned Russian oligarchs attempting to evade accountability for their role in jeopardizing our national security," said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

"The FBI, along with our international partners, will continue to seek out those individuals who contribute to the advancement of Russia's malign activities and ensure they are brought to justice, regardless of where, or how, they attempt to hide."

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Court documents show Kerimov owned the yacht after being sanctioned by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control. He was designated as part of a group of Russian oligarchs profiting from the Russian government through corruption, including the occupation of Crimea. The office also identified Kerimov as an official of the Government of the Russian Federation and a member of the Russian Federation Counsel, according to the Justice Department.

Kerimov is also accused of routing money through U.S. financial institutions for the support and maintenance of the yacht.

"This ruling should make clear that there is no hiding place for the assets of individuals who violate U.S. laws. And there is no hiding place for the assets of criminals who enable the Russian regime," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a news release.

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"The Justice Department will be relentless in our efforts to hold accountable those who facilitate the death and destruction we are witnessing in Ukraine."

The yacht is now being held in Lautoka, Fiji.

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