Russian-Linked Megayacht Towed Off as Police Raid Oligarch's Villa

Dilbar (File image)

Published Sep 21, 2022 10:43 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Russian-owned megayacht Dilbar was detained in Hamburg in March in connection with sanctions on Russia's business elite, and she has now been towed off to a lay berth in Bremen as German authorities investigate her suspected owner's finances.

The tow frees up valuable drydock space at Lürssen's Hamburg yacht yard, according to Bild. Dilbar, which is allegedly linked to the family of sanctioned Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov, was relocated to Lürssen's headquarters facility on the Weser River in Bremen on Tuesday night. German customs officials and local police accompanied the ultra-high-value tow as a precautionary measure. According to NDR reporter Benedikt Strunz, she was towed "dead ship" with no crew aboard in order to make sure she could not make an escape attempt.

Dilbar is the largest personal yacht in the world by volume, measuring in at nearly 16,000 GT. She can accommodate up to 24 guests in her spacious 40,000 square foot interior. According to her builder, she also has an 25-meter-long, 180-cubic-meter pool, the largest ever installed on a yacht. 

Dilbar was initially detained at Hamburg as a temporary measure, but in April, Germany's federal police (BKA) announced that "extensive investigations despite offshore concealment" revealed that Usmanov's sister was the beneficial owner of the vessel. The yacht is therefore subject to sanctions and long-term detention. 

The yacht may end up tied to a larger investigation of Usmanov and his family's holdings. On Wednesday, the day after the tow, German police raided multiple properties allegedly linked to Usmanov in southern Bavaria. German authorities suspect that Usmanov resided at a villa on Lake Tegernsee but did not pay the income taxes owed by a German resident, according to OCCRP. He is also suspected of laundering money into his properties and into his megayacht.

Alisher Usmanov owns Russian metals conglomerate Metalloinvest, media company Kommersant and mobile-phone provider Megafon. Through Metalloinvest, he is also one of the largest shareholders in Deep Sea Minerals Finance, the successor company of bankrupt deep sea mining firm Nautilus Minerals. His net worth has been estimated at about $15-19 billion, putting him in the ranks of the world's 100 wealthiest people.

Usmanov departed Europe for Uzbekistan on February 28, the day he was sanctioned, according to OCCRP.