A mystery superyacht worth £532 million has been swarmed by Italian officials after reports suggest it belongs to President Putin.
If proven to belong to the President, officials may seize the yacht under sanctions imposed against Russia.
This mysterious superyacht is not alone - over the past week, a number of vessels belonging to Russian oligarchs have been seized all around Europe, in a continued bid to sanction Russia.
The 459-foot luxury superyacht in question, called Scheherazade, is currently stationed at the Italian Sea Group shipyard in Marina di Carrara.
It has even been dubbed ‘Putin’s yacht’ by locals, although the vessel's captain denies it is owned by the Russian president.
However, in spite of the rumours, the yacht’s owner has remained a complete secret since its launch in 2020.
The yacht is said to house a swimming pool that converts into a dance floor, gold-plated fixtures, two helicopter decks and several satellite domes.
Captain of Scheherazade Guy Bennett-Pearce confirmed Italian investigators had been on board.
He told the New York Times. “They are looking hard. They are looking at every aspect.
“This isn’t the local coppers coming down, these are men in dark suits."
Bennett-Pearce was forced to hand over documents revealing the owner’s identity to investigators this week.
Apart from revealing that the superyacht’s crew is about 70 percent Russian, the captain would not give any further information, as he was bound by a ‘watertight nondisclosure agreement’.
He did however say that Putin had never been aboard, telling the outlet: “I have never seen him. I have never met him.”
He added that the yacht's owner was not any sanctions list following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
After authorities came on board to examine certification documents, the captain added: “I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that this will clear the vessel of all negative rumours and speculations.”
Retired clerk Ernesto Rossi said: “Everybody calls it Putin’s yacht.
“It’s a rumour that’s been going around for months.”
Scheherazade is not the only superyacht being targeted by authorities.
Last week, a luxury vessel belonging to Putin ally Igor Sechin had been seized by French authorities, according to The Sun.
This came after Alisher Usmanov had his £600 million superyacht taken away by German authorities.
Russia’s richest man Alexei Mordashov was also hit by the sanctions, as his £45 million ship was seized by Italian officials at the northern harbour of Imperia.
According to reports, the billionaire is now believed to be relaxing in the Seychelles, after sailing from the Maldives earlier this week.
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