Another Russian yacht seized in France (plus two more that could be seized soon)

Yesterday, German authorities seized the largest yacht in the world after sanctions on Russian oligarchs were put in place by the US and EU. The 512-foot Dilbar belongs to Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov and is reportedly worth $600 million. Today, French authorities seized another yacht as it was hurriedly trying to set sail.

On Thursday, France’s finance minister Bruno Le Maire said authorities had seized a yacht belonging to Rosneft boss Igor Sechin as it tried to leave the Mediterranean port of La Ciotat.

The Amore Vero arrived in La Ciotat on January 3 and was due to stay there until April 1 to undergo repairs, the finance ministry said in a statement.

But customs officers on Wednesday noted the yacht was “making arrangements to sail off urgently, without the repair works being completed.”…

The finance ministry said the yacht belongs to a company whose main shareholder is Sechin.

Here’s the tweet from Le Maire, the French finance minister, which translates: “A yacht belonging to a Russian oligarch has been seized. Thank you to the French customs officers who enforce the sanctions of the European Union against those close to the Russian authorities.”

The Monaco-based company, Imperial Yachts, that manages Amore Vero claims it has no connection to Igor Sechin. As you’ll see in the video below, Imperial Yachts is known for primarily dealing with yachts belonging to Russian clients so they are probably having a very bad week.

Igor Sechin, the owner of the yacht, is a close friend of Putin and has picked up the nickname “Darth Vader” in Russia.

Sechin has undoubtedly earned his ominous, powerful reputation over the years, with a leaked U.S. embassy cable from 2008 referring to him as the “grey cardinal” of the Kremlin. For the past decade, Sechin has served as the CEO of Russia’s state-oil company Rosneff; before that, he spent four years, 2008 to 2012, as the country’s Deputy Prime Minister.

In announcing its sanctions on Russian oligarchs, the EU called Sechin “one of Vladimir Putin’s most trusted and closest advisors, as well as his personal friend.”

Meanwhile, Page Six is reporting that one of the yachts western authorities have their eyes on is one that may have been built specifically for Putin himself.

Eclipse, the second-largest superyacht in the world, which is currently moored in St. Maarten, is equipped with a military-grade missile detection system, bulletproof glass, and a three-person submarine that is capable of submerging to 50 meters — sparking speculation that the vessel could be a refuge for President Vladimir Putin, of whom Abramovich is said to be a close confidant.

One Russian source told Page Six, “Yachts generally do not have bulletproof glass and antiballistic missile defenses. People in Russia and the Ukraine believe it was built for Putin. That yacht will definitely be top of the list to be seized by the Americans or the Europeans.”

Here’s a video showing what Eclipse looks like:

And finally, this guy runs a YouTube channel devoted to news about yachts. Today he did a report on the two yachts that have been seized so far but he also mentioned two more yachts which, unfortunately for their Russian oligarch owners, are in dry dock in the EU. So it’s possible we’ll hear about these two yachts being seized in the coming days.

  • Solaris in dry dock in Barcelona
  • Sailing Yacht A in dry dock in Italy

Here’s the clip: