The war in Ukraine is now approaching its third week.
According to Ukraine, 1,300 of its brave soldiers have been killed and 12,000 Russian soldiers have been killed. The number of dead civilians is unknown, but could range into the thousands.
Russia recently struck a maternity hospital and a psychiatric facility, as well as fired on civilians trying to escape the war, killing numerous individuals.
The West and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have responded by hitting Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin with punishing sanctions. These have applied to its consumer products, its energy industry, and its financial sector, as well as many others.
Though one of the boldest moves that many western countries are making is seizing the luxury yachts of Putin and his inner circle of corrupt oligarchs.
Now, it looks like this might have just hit the motherlode of the head honcho himself.
Seizing Putin’s Yacht
Oligarchs who are able to do so have been cruising their yachts off the map to hide them until these chaotic times blow over. Though those who were in the middle of having their luxury water palaces fixed up didn’t always have a chance to hide them away.
One of those cases is the 459-foot luxury mega yacht the Scheherazade, which is currently dry-docked in Italy. It has now been seized by EU authorities and its ownership is being traced.
Many experts believe it belongs to Vladimir Putin and is his personal yacht; although proof of that is still being sought.
Putin is worth an estimated $20 billion and is one of the richest people on the planet, at least on paper.
Though he generally tucked that wealth away in assets, including things like the $700 million yacht, thousands of shell corporations, and many other devious ways of hiding assets.
The captain of the Scheherazade says it has nothing to do with Putin, but many are skeptical, especially since it docked numerous times at Sochi near where Putin maintains a massive mansion overlooking the sea.
“Everybody calls it Putin’s yacht” – who owns the $700 million Scheherazade? Italian police will find out today. A look at the global hunt for oligarchs’ yachts by me, @gaia_pianigiani @ddknyt https://t.co/8SorBkvp4n
— Mike Forsythe 傅才德 (@PekingMike) March 8, 2022
The Yacht Crackdown
As the West tries to get ahold of oligarch yachts, owners have been doing everything they can to save them, including illegally switching off the AIS (ID tracking system) so that they aren’t shown as being on the water.
Russian billionaire and Putin insider Suleyman Kerimov did this to get away with his lovely luxury yacht the 350-foot Amadea.
He switched off AIS to disappear from view and endangered everyone’s lives since the boat can now collide with any number of other boats by mistake.
As any number of Putin insiders try to keep whatever of their wealth they can, they particularly want to protect hard assets like yachts.
Their accounts are already frozen or in many cases being actively investigated and interrupted. This is part of what explains their desperation here.
— Старый Лоцман / Оld Pilot (@vovgub) June 3, 2020