Heesen responds to Russian owner’s UK sanctions

Dutch superyacht builder Heesen Yachts has issued a statement condemning ‘violence in every form’ and saying it’s ‘saddened by the ongoing situation in Ukraine’. The move comes as its been confirmed that Heesen’s Russian owner Vagit Alekporov has been added to the UK’s list of sanctioned businessmen.

The company is manoeuvring to present its Dutch credentials. Heeean has pointed out that earlier in March this year, immediately following the developments of the war against Ukraine, one of Heesen’s current UBO’s publicly called for an end to the war, and two of Heesen Yachts’ supervisory board members, Pavel Novoselov and Pavel Sukhoruchkin stepped down from their positions. This, says Heesen, was to further emphasise the shipyard’s independence and Dutch nature.

The Oss-based company says Alekporov’s UK sanctions have no direct consequences for its business as he is not currently sanctioned by the European Union and Heesen is a Dutch-registered limited company.

In its statement, the company says:

‘Heesen Yachts has learned that one of its Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBO’s) has now been listed on the sanctions list of the United Kingdom following a recent update on 13 April 2022. He is not on the EU sanctions list – applicable to Heesen.

‘Heesen is a Dutch company qualified as a (so-called) structure-company, which means that we are managed by a professional management board, with an independent supervisory board which appoints the management board members. Heesen only reports directly to its sole shareholder, Morcell Ltd.

‘Heesen’s UBO’s do not actively or directly involve themselves in the way the company is run. Heesen is financially independent and in good shape, with a strong order book, and currently employs around 1,000 individuals in the Netherlands.

‘Heesen has always worked closely with the authorities adhering to all relevant laws and regulations, and we are cooperating in full transparency with government agencies.’

The company’s statement then lists its international client bases, moving to pull away from the wider superyacht market’s supposed Russian dependency, and says it works with customers from America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia origin.

‘Our craftsmen are constantly working to deliver the high-quality technological yachts for which our country is renowned and will continue to do so.’

Alekporov, the president of Russian oil company Lukoil, succeeded Frans Heesen as one of the ‘ultimate beneficial owners’ of the yacht builder and has commissioned several vessels, including the €100m Galactica for himself, says Dutch News.

Heesen has built boats for other Russian oligarchs who have since been sanctioned, including former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who reportedly transferred ownership of several yachts including the Heesen-built Aquamarine on the day Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.

Targeting Russian oligarch’s yachts has become a regular occurrence, as reported by MIN.

But Heesen is one of the most reputable boat builders in the world, known for delivering countless award-winning, stunning superyachts. Its customers are typically among the world’s richest people, says Auto Evolution.

Vagit Alekporov is not only the president of Russia’s oil giant Lukoil, but also the owner of Heesen Yachts. However, the builder stated that its business won’t be affected, because Alekporov was added to the UK sanctions list not on the European Union’s one, while Heesen is a Dutch-registered company.

Dutch News reports Heesen will continue with business as usual, including finishing work on Galactica, Alekporov’s $108m superyacht.

Main image: Heesen’s Galatica Super Nova (2016)

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