The FBI and the Spanish Civil Guard have seized the yacht of a Russian oligarch near Vladimir Putin in Mallorca

Spanish police and US agents inspect the oligarch's yacht Victor Vexelp
Spanish police and US agents inspect the oligarch’s yacht Victor Vexelp

The Spanish authorities have seized in the Balearic Islands (east) the yacht of a Russian businessman who is close to President Vladimir Putin and is subject to US sanctions.according to what was reported by the Spanish Civil Guard, on Monday.

The operation was carried out in Palma de Mallorca Civil Guard agents and US agencies of the FBI and HSI (Homeland Security Investigations)As a result of a US rogatory, the Spanish police force identified in a statement.

baptized “Tango”, this 78-meter yacht, valued at 90 million euros, is Owned by Russian billionaire Viktor VekselbergOwner Renova GroupHeadquartered in Moscow, it is a conglomerate that includes minerals, mining, technology and other assets.

In early March, Washington announced the establishment of an investigation unit responsible for track back And the confiscate The luxuries of Russian oligarchs who are subject to sanctions.

Permission of the President of the United States Joe Biden promised to seize “yachts, luxury apartments and private jets.”

This is “the first seizure of property from a sanctioned person with close ties to the Russian regime. It will not be the last.”The US Attorney General reassured, Merrick B. GarlandIn a statement from his ministry.

Viktor Vekselberg, CEO of Renova, is a Russian governor with close ties to Vladimir Putin (AP)
Viktor Vekselberg, CEO of Renova, is a Russian governor with close ties to Vladimir Putin (AP)

Today’s work shows that the corrupt Russian oligarchs They can’t get around sanctions to live a life of luxury while innocent Ukrainians sufferAnd his deputy, Lisa O Monaco, added in the same statement.

Spanish and American agents have since confiscated documents and computers to “confirm the identity of their true owner.” The ship is “Cook Islands-flagged and registered in the name of a company based in the British Virgin Islands, which in turn is operated by companies in Panama.”

“All this after a complex financial conspiracy and companies to hide their true true ownership,” the statement read.

“Although Vekselberg, who is very close to Vladimir Putin, has not been subject to sanctions by the European Union so far, Yes, it’s from the US Treasury (OFAC).

There he is “being investigated for tax fraud, money laundering and forged documents in connection specifically with concealment of the true ownership of this luxury yacht in an attempt to avoid penalties”.

Vekselberg is part of a list of seven Russian rulers close to the Kremlin, whom Washington sanctioned in April 2018.which accuses them of participating in the Russian attacks on Western democracies. In March of this year, he was punished again shortly after the start of the invasion of Ukraine. Sanctions were also imposed on Vekselberg by the British authorities.

This was the raid on the yacht of the Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg

After the imposition of sanctions, the businessman, who is based in Switzerland, reduced his participation in several industrial companies.

This is the fourth yacht to be seized in Spain since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24. The other three are suspected of belonging to billionaires close to the power and are subject to sanctions by the European Union.

for this part, The US government has warned that the seizure of the Vekselberg yacht is “just the beginning” of the actions of this country And its allies will punish those who support Moscow’s “tyranny” for profit.

“For those who have tied their fortunes to a brutal regime, what happened today is a message that all law-enforced nations will devote themselves to separating the few from their luxuries,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

At her daily press briefing, the White House spokeswoman said, Jin Psakidefended the effectiveness of the procedure in the face of media questions, questioning whether such fits were of any benefit.

Psaki pointed out that the confiscations are one of the “many measures” being taken by which the Russian economy is seeking to “fall down the spiral”.

Spanish and North American authorities took documents and electronic devices from the luxury yacht (AP/Francisco Ubilla)
Spanish and North American authorities took documents and electronic devices from the luxury yacht (AP/Francisco Ubilla)

In addition, consider that all these measures, along with other measures of economic pressure, will also have long-term effects and The Russian oligarchs, who have been “isolated” from the rest of the world, understand the consequences of such isolation.

The Ministry of Justice insisted that such actions are only the beginning of the work of its own group dedicated to the persecution of the Russian oligarchs, and a sign of its commitment to holding all those who “Criminal activity” strengthens the Russian government in this “unjust war” against Ukraine.

This is the first time the US government has seized an oligarchic yacht since Attorney General Merrick Garland and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen formed the task force known as REPO – Russian acronym for elites, agents, and oligarchs- Trying to enforce sanctions after Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.

Vekselberg has long-standing relationships with the United States, where he has a permanent residence permit and homes in New York and Connecticut. The Ukrainian billionaire built his fortune in the aluminum and oil sectors after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Vekselberg was also questioned in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, and worked closely with his American cousin, Andrew Intratterwho runs the New York-based investment firm Columbus Nova.

(with information from the AFP and EFE)

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