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.

The U.S. government seized a mega yacht in Spain owned by an oligarch with close ties to the Russian president on Monday, the first in the government’s sanctions initiative to “seize and freeze” giant boats and other pricey assets of Russian elites, AP reports.

Spain’s Civil Guard and U.S. federal agents descended on the yacht at the Marina Real in the port of Palma de Mallorca, the capital of Spain’s Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. Associated Press reporters at the scene saw police going in and out of the boat on Monday morning.

The joint operation to seize the yacht, with Spain’s Civil Guard, the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations, was carried out at the request of U.S. authorities, the Civil Guard said.

A Civil Guard source told The Associated Press that the immobilized yacht is Tango, a 78-meter (254-feet) vessel that carries Cook Islands flag and that Superyachtfan.com, a specialized website that tracks the world’s largest and most exclusive recreational boats, values at $120 million. The source was also not authorized to be named in media reports and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.

Read more

© Copyright LaPresse