Sanctioned superyacht is costing Fiji US$500,000 a week
The Russian-owned superyacht Amadea, which is currently docked at the Fijian port of Lautoka and is restrained from leaving Fijian waters, is costing the Fijian state over half a million US dollars a week to maintain, according to local reports.
It is widely reported that Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, who is sanctioned by the United States, Britain and the European Union, is the ultimate owner of the 106-metre Lürssen vessel, said to be worth over US$325m.
Amadea arrived in Fiji in mid-April after an 18-day journey from Mexico. Soon after its arrival, Fiji’s High Court granted an application to arrest the yacht, after the US Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, Christopher Pryde, filed a restraining order to stop the superyacht from leaving Fijian waters while authorities worked to formally seize it.
While it had initially appeared that US officials on the ground would sail away with the yacht and take the issue out of Fijian hands, lawyers for the company that owns Amadea, Millemarin Investments, are reportedly contesting claims that Kerimov is the owner, and that the actual owner is Eduard Khudainatov. Khudainatov is not under any sanctions. On this basis, defence lawyer Faizal Haniff has filed an application seeking an interim stay on the ruling.
This means the US cannot move Amadea out of Fiji until after the appeal, and Fiji has to fund the maintenance and upkeep of the yacht in port in the meantime.
The Fiji Times reports that the Fiji government had to foot a US$83,000 bill for every day the vessel remained berthed at the Lautoka Port — equivalent to a million Fijian dollars per week.
The temporary stay order had been extended until May 18, and the Court of Appeal will hear the matter later this afternoon.
The US embassy has stated it is cooperating with local authorities in the matter.
“We continue to ratchet up the pressure on Putin’s oligarchs and we are working with allies and partners to go after corrupt gains from some of the individuals closest to Putin, no matter where they are held around the world,” the embassy said in a statement to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.