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The 'world's most expensive' yacht has been taken by Italian police after the massive luxury vessel was found to belong to Russian oligarch Andrey Melnichenko, who has been accused of funding Putin's invasion in Ukraine.
In dramatic footage released on social media, Melnichenko’s mega yacht Sy A – short for Sailing Yacht A – was seized in the port of Trieste.
Italy’s financial police (@GDF) has just frozen “SY A” - a sailing yacht worth ~€530m located in the Port of Trieste. The yacht could be linked indirectly to Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko - an individual in the EU sanctions list. pic.twitter.com/fRg6ZTIQRH— Ferdinando Giugliano (@FerdiGiugliano) March 12, 2022
Melnichenko, 50, is the latest Russian oligarch to have property seized by the European Union's 'freeze and seize' task force.
The task force was established after sanctions were put in place on Russian oligarchs around the globe in a bid to cripple Russia's ultra-rich and the Russian financial sector in the hopes Moscow would pull out of Ukraine.
According to the EU, Melnichenko 'belongs to the most influential circle of Russian businesspeople with close connections to the Russian Government' and is therefore 'in economic sectors providing a substantial source of revenue to the Government of the Russian Federation'.
Sanzioni contro la Russia:— Tg La7 (@TgLa7) March 11, 2022
A Trieste, nel rimessaggio del porto, è stato sequestrato dalla Guardia di Finanza lo yacht a vela più grande del mondo, del valore di 530 milioni di euro. Lo "SY A" è riconducibile all'imprenditore russo Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko. pic.twitter.com/xj0V728Qsa
Melnichenko has been described by Brussels as a 'member of the closest circle of Vladimir Putin' and say the fertiliser billionaire is 'supporting or implementing actions or policies which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, as well as stability and security in Ukraine'.
Since the EU task force was established, European authorities have already begun seizing assets such as yachts, private jets, and mansions belonging to billionaires identified as potentially aiding the war on Ukraine with funds.
Some were able to relocate their expensive vessels out of the EU's reach, with fleets of expensive yachts moved to the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.
However, it appears Melnichenko wasn’t able to evade the 'freeze and seize' measures fast enough.
Footage of the moment police took hold of the €530m (AUD$793m) mega yacht have been shared on Twitter by Ferdinando Giugliano, a media advisor to the Italian Prime Minister.
Italy's move against Melnichenko comes nearly two weeks after German authorities took possession of oligarch Alisher Usmanov's mega-yacht.
Some oligarchs are choosing to turn their backs on the Kremlin to oppose the Ukrainian invasion, with Vladimir Lisin, Oleg Deripaska, Oleg Tinkov, Mikhail Fridman, Pyotr Aven, and Aleksei Mordashov all calling on President Vladimir Putin to put an end on the assault against Ukraine.
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information.
Featured Image Credit: Wirestock, Inc/Cliff Hide General News/Alamy Stock Photo
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