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A superyacht linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin has been blocked from leaving the country by authorities in Italy this weekend. In a statement on Friday night, the Italian Government said it signed a blocking decree based on evidence that the owner of the Scheherazade yacht has “significant economic and business connections” with “prominent elements of the Russian government and with others subject to EU sanctions”.
The owner of the £570million vessel has not been revealed, but has been under investigation for its links to President Putin since March.
A source at the finance police said the investigation was “very complex” owing to a web of company names that could be concealing the real owner.
The source said: “As you can imagine, after all this time, it’s not been easy [to identify] an owner, because of all the companies in between.
“There is no more information we can give, and asking if it belongs to Putin is like a lottery.”
The ship, which has been docked in Tuscany for repairs since September, was blocked after it was moved from a dry port and back to water, and was reportedly preparing to leave Marina di Carrara.
It is the latest in a string of yachts to be sanctioned by European governments under punishments for Russia, for its war in Ukraine.
Multiple boats owned by Russia’s uber wealthy oligarch’s have been sequestered under the new rules, which are aimed at destabilising some of President Putin’s supporters.
What boats have been seized so far under sanctions?
Amadea – The Fijian government had seized billionaire oligarch Suleiman Kerimov’s 348-foot yacht Amadea, according to an announcement made on May 5.
Valued at more than $300million, it was seized after arriving in Fiji last month.
Tango – Spanish law enforcement seized the 255ft yacht owned by Viktor Vekselberg in April.
The aluminium magnate has close ties to President Putin, according to the USA.
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Lady M – The 215ft super yacht was sanctioned in Italy this month.
It is owned by Alexei Mordashov, who is believed to be Russia’s richest businessman.
Lena – 132ft superyacht Lena was seized by Italian officials in March this year.
Lena is owned by energy magnate Gennady Timchenko, and is worth an estimated $8million.
SY A – One of the world’s largest and most impressive superyachts SY A was seized in Italy back in March.
Owned by fertiliser magnate Andrey Melnichenko, it has eight decks, multiple elevators, an underwater observation area and the world’s tallest masts.
Valerie – Spanish authorities seized the $100million yacht owned by Sergei Chemezov was seized in March.
The impressive boat has been linked to high profile US celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck.
Amore Vero – This month French officials seized the 289ft Amore Vero in Marseille.
The boat was being repaired in the port, but reportedly when officials arrived the crew was preparing for an urgent departure despite not being fully capable of sailing.
The boat is linked to Igor Sechin, described by the US Treasury Department as a close ally of President Putin.
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