Dutch move to hold 12 yachts ordered by wealthy Russians

Associated Press

The Hague – The Dutch government said Wednesday it is making sure a dozen yachts ordered by super-wealthy Russians are not delivered to anyone as part of sanctions imposed over the war in Ukraine.

Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra wrote in a letter to parliament that the oft-complicated ownership structures of such yachts are actively investigated and that no such vessel would be allowed to leave its construction yard.

A Civil Guard stands by the yacht called Tango in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Monday April 4, 2022. U.S. federal agents and Spain's Civil Guard are searching the yacht owned by a Russian oligarch. The yacht is among the assets linked to Viktor Vekselberg, a billionaire and close ally with Russia's President Vladimir Putin, who heads the Moscow-based Renova Group, a conglomerate encompassing metals, mining, tech and other assets, according to U.S. Treasury Department documents. All of Vekselberg's assets in the U.S. are frozen and U.S. companies are forbidden from doing business with him and his entities.

More: Events in the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Wednesday, March 6, 2022

Many Russian oligarchs that are now targeted by European Union sanctions have looked to the Netherlands, a traditional seafaring nation, for the super-luxury yachts that the world’s wealthiest people sometimes covet.

“The situation is, at the moment, that in five yards there are 12 yachts under construction for so-called Russian ultimate beneficial owners,” Hoekstra said. “Because of the current export measures, these vessels should not be delivered.”

The U.S. government on Monday seized a 254-foot yacht in Spain owned by an oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The move was a first by the Biden administration under sanctions imposed after the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine and targeting pricey assets of Russian elites.

Spanish authorities seized a vessel valued at over $140 million owned by the CEO of a Russian state-owned defense conglomerate who is a close Putin ally. Italy has also seized several yachts.

The superyachts seized by France includes one that is believed to belong to Igor Sechin, a Putin ally who runs Russian oil giant Rosneft, which has been on the U.S. sanctions list since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.