In Europe, for the first time, the detention of the yacht of a Russian billionaire was declared illegal

In Europe, for the first time, the detention of the yacht of a Russian billionaire was declared illegal

A court in France declared illegal the arrest of the yacht La Petite Bear Russian billionaire Alexei Kuzmichev, writes Bloomberg. This is the first time that a sanctioned oligarch has been able to protect his vessel.

Two yachts Kuzmichev La Petite Bear and the Grand Bear worth $20 million and $50 million, respectively, were arrested on March 24 as part of a case of violating EU sanctions that were imposed on the billionaire in connection with the war in Ukraine.

In September became it is known that Kuzmichev sued the French customs for the arrest of his yachts. “None of the inspection reports contain even a hint of a possible violation. The fact that you are Russian and rich does not mean for sure that you are a bandit, ”the billionaire’s lawyer Philippe Blanchetier said at a court hearing. He argued to the court that the seizure of yachts is a confiscation that goes beyond the powers of the EU to freeze assets.

French customs spokeswoman Marie-Anne Josroland said authorities had the right to search the Russian oligarch’s yacht because it could have been found to evade EU sanctions. Kuzmichev was blacklisted by the EU on March 15 and left the beneficiaries of Alfa-Bank. The billionaire was banned from entering the EU countries and his foreign assets were frozen. Previously, he challenged the publication of data on his property in Paris and the Riviera, but lost the court.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, at least 13 luxury yachts of Russian billionaires have been arrested in the West. Your yachts from arrest hid former member of the board of directors of EuroChem Andrei Melnichenko, chairman of the board of directors of the Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works Viktor Rashnikov, former member of the board of directors of PhosAgro Andrei Guryev, billionaire Oleg Deripaska, former president of Lukoil Vagit Alekperov and others.

Po data trade publication Superyacht Times, Russians own 9% of the nearly 2,000 superyachts in the world over 40m in length and about 20% of 153 vessels over 80m in length. Only buyers from the Persian Gulf monarchies have more such yachts.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is also credited with three yachts that came under US sanctions. One of the yachts – Graceful – left the repair shipyard in Hamburg just before the start of the war in Ukraine, and recently she noticed next to the Estonian island of Saaremaa heading towards St. Petersburg. During the seven months of the war, the yacht changed its name – now it bears the name “Orca”.

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