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Germany Seizes Russian Oligarch’s $600 Million Superyacht

Russian oligarch superyacht
The Dilbar was seized by Germany. Credit: Alberto-g-rovi , CC BY 3.0/Wikipedia

On Wednesday, Germany seized the world’s largest superyacht after “extensive investigations” determined that it is owned by the sister of the sanctioned Russian oligarch, Alisher Usmanov.

Germany’s federal crime office (BKA) said that despite efforts at what it called “offshore concealment,” it had determined that the yacht’s owner is Usmanov’s sister, Gulbakhor Ismailova, who is also sanctioned.

“The luxury yacht Dilbar is therefore subject to sanctions law and was able to be legally impounded in Hamburg,” the BKA said in a tweet. News agency DPA quoted a BKA spokesman as saying that the yacht cannot be “sold, rented or pledged as collateral.”

The 156-meter (512 foot) yacht had been undergoing refitting in Hamburg. The vessel is flagged in the Cayman Islands and registered to a holding company in Malta—both tax havens favored by the global ultra-rich to park their wealth.

Usmanov owns a major stake in USM, a Russian investment group with holdings in Metalloinvest, one of the world’s largest iron ore producers, and telecommunications company, MegaFon.

The oligarch, who has had significant interests in the English football clubs Arsenal and Everton, had already been sanctioned by the EU and the US.

He’s the sixth-richest Russian with a fortune of $19 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The yacht is named after his mother.

Superyacht of Russian oligarch boasts two helipads

The vessel was inspected by police last month. However, German authorities denied reports at the time that it had been seized.

Boasting a 25-meter swimming pool and two helipads, it’s valued at $600 million to $750 million, according to the U.S. Treasury.

Dilbar was bought in 2016 for a reported cost of $600m from the German shipbuilder Lürssen, which custom-built it for him over 52 months.

The firm describes it as “one of the most complex and challenging yachts ever built, in terms of both dimensions and technology.”

At the time of its launch, the Lürssen chief executive, Peter Lürssen, said: “Dilbar has the most advanced security technologies of any superyacht in the world. But the things you read about it containing an anti-aircraft missile defense system are all nonsense.”

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