Italian police have seized a superyacht owned by Russian billionaire Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko, the prime minister’s office said on Saturday, days after the businessman was placed on an EU sanctions list following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The 143-meter (470-foot) sailing yacht A, which has a price tag of 530 million euros ($578 million), has been seized in Trieste’s northern port, the government said.
GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE
Designed by Philippe Starck and built by Nobiskrug in Germany, the ship is the world’s largest sailing yacht, the government said.
Melnichenko owned major fertilizer maker EuroChem Group and coal company SUEK. The companies said in statements Thursday that he had resigned as a board member at both companies and resigned as their beneficiary, effective Wednesday.
A spokesman for Melnichenko, Alex Andreev, said the businessman had “no relation to the tragic events in Ukraine. He has no political connections”.
RUSSIAN OLIGARCH YACHTS, LUXURY COAST HOUSES OCCUPIED BY ITALY: PHOTOS
“There is no justification for putting him on the EU sanctions list,” Andreev said. “We will challenge these unfounded and unjustified sanctions and believe the rule of law and common sense will prevail.
Since last week, Italian police have seized more than 700 million euros ($763.63 million) worth of villas and yachts from high-profile Russians who have been put on the EU sanctions list, Economy Minister Daniele Franco said on Saturday.
“So far we’ve hit what was visible, now we have to hit the rest like equity. We’re doing a great job of bringing out what’s shielded by trusts and aliases,” Giuseppe Zafarana, head of Italy’s tax police, told journalists on Saturday in Bergamo.
The police operations were part of a coordinated action by Western states to punish wealthy Russians they say are linked to President Vladimir Putin.
Russian oligarch Alisher USmanov’s $600 million yacht seized in Germany: reports
Separately, a superyacht said to be owned by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich arrived in Montenegro’s territorial waters on Saturday morning, according to a Reuters photographer.
The Solaris is one of a number of yachts owned by Chelsea Football Club owner Abramovich, according to reports in luxury goods publications SuperYachtFan, SuperYacht Times and Forbes.
The 140-meter-long ship is moored in front of the luxury resort of Porto Montenegro in the town of Tivat. The boat left Barcelona on Tuesday.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT FOX BUSINESS
Britain on Thursday imposed sanctions on Abramovich, freezing his assets and citing his close relationship with Putin. Abramovich has denied having any such connections.
($1 = 0.9167 euros)
(Reporting by Emilio Parodi in Bergamo and Stevo Vasiljevic in Tivat, writing by Giselda Vagnoni, editing by Frances Kerry)