Russian superyacht removed from Fiji
A Fiji court has ruled a Russian-owned superyacht be removed by the United States. This is because it’s considered a waste of money for Fiji to maintain the vessel amid legal wrangling over its seizure, says Reuters.
The 106m Amadea arrived in Fiji on 13 April 2022 after an 18-day voyage from Mexico. It was seized by Fiji authorities after the country’s High Court granted a US warrant in May that linked the yacht to sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov.
The United States said it would pay to maintain the vessel after it was seized, but while an appeal by the vessel’s registered owner, Millemarin Investments, worked its way through Fiji’s courts the Fiji government has been footing the $500,000 a week bill.
According to the judgment, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that public interest demands the yacht ‘sail out of Fiji waters,’ because having it berthed in Fiji was ‘costing the Fijian Government dearly’ and stated that the vessel ‘sailed into Fiji waters without any permit and most probably to evade prosecution by the United States’.
“The decision acknowledges Fiji’s commitment to respecting international mutual assistance requests and Fiji’s international obligations,” says Fiji’s director of public prosecutions, Christopher Pryde.
He says the court agreed “issues concerning money laundering and ownership” need to be decided in the originating US court.
“The Amadea has been handed over to US authorities and will now leave Fiji,” Pryde says.
The vessel’s lawyer, Feizal Haniff, declined to comment on the judgment, says Reuters.
Main image courtesy of US Department of Justice.