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The U.S. Is Paying $600K a Month to Maintain Seized Russian Superyacht – Robb Report

It turns out that not everyone wants a multimillion-dollar megayacht.

The U.S. government has asked a judge for permission to auction off a $325 million vessel that it seized as part of the widespread sanctions imposed on Russia following its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

The 348-foot Amadea, which allegedly belongs to Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, was seized in Fiji in April 2022 at the request of the U.S. government. (The gold tycoon was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2018 for being an official of the Russian government, then sanctioned by the U.K. and the European Union in 2022 because of his close ties to Vladimir Putin.) The yacht arrived stateside in June 2022, and the U.S. has since been paying $600,000 a month to maintain it, as reported by Bloomberg.

The hefty monthly sum includes $360,000 for crew wages, $75,000 for fuel, and $165,000 for maintenance, waste removal, food, and other expenses, according to court papers filed Friday in New York.

“The carrying costs for the Amadea are far from modest, and there is good cause to spare the government and the public from bearing these costs,” the filing states.

Amadea arriving in California in June 2022

Amadea arriving in California in June 2022.

Gregory Bull/AP

It’s not just the monthly payments piling up, either. The U.S. Justice Department said it is paying a $1.7 million annual insurance bill this month. It will also need to fork out $5.6 million to send Amadea into dry dock for repairs in March. (The monthly payments will be suspended during this time.)

The court will first need to determine who owns Amadea before it decides the vessel’s fate. Millemarin Investments is the legal owner on paper, but the U.S. alleges that Kerimov is the beneficial owner and exercises control. To further complicate things, Eduard Khudainatov, the former head of Russian oil producer Rosneft, is claiming that he is the rightful owner. He hasn’t been sanctioned by the U.S. and wants Amadea back.

Lawyers for Khudainatov said that their client would reimburse the U.S. for the cost of maintaining the yacht if it is returned to him. (The country has spent about $20 million on Amadea to date.) The lawyers added that the seizure was “unlawful.”

The U.S. has rejected Khudainatov’s ownership claim but says that he should pay for the maintenance until a decision is made by the court. As he currently isn’t paying, the government says it is entitled to sell Amadea.

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