France seized a R1.8bn super-yacht owned by Russian oligarch and Putin confidant Igor Sechin

Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, right, with Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin.  Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, right, with Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

  • France said its customs officials seized a super-yacht owned by a Russian oligarch.
  • The yacht, worth an estimated $120 million (around R1.8 billion) , belongs to Igor Sechin, CEO of Russia’s Rosneft.
  • Western nations have targeted rich Russians tied to the Kremlin as part of Ukraine war sanctions.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za

A super-yacht owned by a Russian oligarch has been seized by France under sanctions targetting individuals linked to the Kremlin, the French finance ministry said on Thursday.

The yacht, Amore Vero, is owned by Igor Sechin, CEO of Russian state-controlled oil giant Rosneft, the ministry said. Superyacht Fan put Amore Vero’s price tag at $120 million (around R1.8 billion).

The yacht was seized on Wednesday night in La Ciotat, a town in the south of France, as per a press release tweeted by French finance minister Bruno Le Maire. The vessel had been docked in La Ciotat since early January, the release said.

Sechin was placed on European Union and United States sanctions lists soon after Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday last week. The EU, US, UK and others have sanctioned a number of high-profile Russian business executives that have ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Sechin has been described in Russian media as the country’s “DarthVader.” He was deputy prime minister of Russia until 2012 and is said to be a close ally of Putin.

The 280-ft Amore Vero has a swimming pool that converts into a helicopter pad, according to Oceanco, its maker. It also has a private owner’s deck and a sun deck with a jacuzzi, Oceanco says.

The yacht can accommodate up to 14 guests in seven suites, and has two VIP cabins, according to Superyacht Times.

The EU sanctions “require the detention of the vessel with immediate effect,” the French finance ministry’s press release said.

The seizure of Amore Vero appears to be the second instance of a European authority seizing a Russian oligarch-owned super-yacht since Ukraine sanctions were enacted.

Germany recently seized Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov’s super-yacht, Forbes reported on Wednesday, citing multiple unnamed sources. Usmanov’s yacht was docked in Hamburg, Germany, for a refit when it was seized, as per Forbes.

Sechin’s yacht was seized by French customs officials on Wednesday, Le Maire said on Thursday.

A superyacht owned by a US-sanctioned Russian billionaire arrived in the Maldives earlier this week, Agence France-Presse reported on Tuesday. It’s one of several Russian-owned pleasure craft believed to be headed to the sunny island nation, which doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the US.

The yacht, Clio, is owned by Oleg Deripaska, the founder of the Russian aluminum group Rusal who was sanctioned by the US in 2018. Clio dropped anchor off Malé, the capital of the Maldives, on Monday, AFP said, citing port officials.

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