Spanish Authorities Seize $600M Russian Megayacht
Authorities at the port of Tarragona have seized the megayacht Crescent, the third Russian-linked ultraluxury vessel seized in Spanish waters this week.
Crescent is a 440-foot behemoth built in 2019 and valued at roughly $600 million. She is a close cousin of the 459-foot Scheherazade, which U.S. officials believe may be linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Crescent is suspected to belong to Russian oligarch Igor Sechin, the head of oil company Rosneft and a close confidant of Putin. Sechin is subject to EU sanctions, including a full asset freeze.
135m Mega Yacht CRESCENT by Lurssen delivered. ????— Yachtie World (@yachtieworld) September 19, 2018
Previously known as “Project Thunder”
The highly secretive 135m/444ft motor yacht Crescent is the 7th largest yacht built by @luerssenyachts
Read more on Instagram or Facebook. #YachtieWorld #yacht #LuxuryTravel #luxuryyacht pic.twitter.com/glh7mvtqJ8
Crescent is the second yacht linked to Sechin to be seized in connection with EU sanctions. Earlier this month, officials in France impounded the smaller $120 million, 280-foot superyacht Amore Vero, also believed to belong to the Russian oil magnate. The Vero was attempting to leave port when it was seized, according to reports.
Crescent is also the third Russian yacht seized in Spain to date. On Tuesday, Spain's transportation ministry confirmed that the 160-foot yacht Lady Anastasia has been detained at the port of Palma de Mallorca. The vessel belongs to the sanctioned Russian executive Alexander Mikheev, former CEO of defense contractor JSC Russian Helicopters and current CEO of Rosoboronexport, Russia's state-owned weapons export conglomerate.
Authorities in Barcelona have also impounded the yacht Valerie, believed to be owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Sergey Chemezov. She is currently moored at a superyacht repair and maintenance shipyard in the Port of Barcelona, and authorities said that she was ready for departure at the time she was detained.
These vessels are being held for now, but the bar for permanent asset seizure for EU sanctions violations is relatively high: investigators will have to show that each vessel belongs to a sanctioned individual and was used to commit a crime. This could be a years-long challenge, as ownership is typically wrapped in a network of shell companies.