Russian property developer Sergey Naumenko has launched a High Court claim against the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) to release his $48 million superyacht ‘Phi,’ which was seized last year as part of Western sanctions. Naumenko, who is not on the sanctions list and denies any links to the Russian government, is seeking the release of his vessel which has been moored in London’s Canary Wharf since the end of 2021, as well as undisclosed damages.
The transport secretary at the time, Grant Shapps, had announced the seizure of the vessel in March 2022 in his TikTok video (out of all places) and referred to the owner as “a friend of Putin,” an allegation that Naumenko has vehemently denied.
Naumenko’s captain has reportedly told Bloomberg that the tycoon had “never met Putin”.
The case highlights the ongoing issue of the confiscation of dozens of superyachts belonging to wealthy Russians as part of Western sanctions. The auction of a $75 million superyacht linked to a sanctioned Russian billionaire in Gibraltar last August, which was sold for the benefit of US investment bank JPMorgan Chase, underscores the severity of the situation. In total, the value of Russian superyachts seized by the West is estimated to exceed $4 billion.
It remains to be seen how this case will play out, as a full hearing to decide the fate of the yacht will take place later in July. Naumenko’s claim highlights the risks and consequences of Western sanctions, which not only affect targeted individuals but also have repercussions on innocent parties such as vessel owners and their employees. It is likely that this issue will continue to be a point of contention between Russia and Western nations in the future.
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#Russia #West #sanctions #yacht #superyacht #seizure #RussianOligarchs #corruption #Putin
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