U.S. federal agents and Spain’s Civil Guard seized a mega yacht that was allegedly owned by Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg.
According to the information released by the Civil Guard, the 78 meters long yacht named “Tango” was valued at more than €90 million (approximately $98 million).
The seizure of the Tango was the execution of a Spanish court order as a sanction against Vekselberg.
A separate news release from the United States Department of Justice said Spanish authorities acted following a request from their department for assistance after the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a seizure warrant.
The Tango vessel was subject to forfeiture based on the violation of U.S. bank fraud, money laundering, and sanction statutes.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Tango seizure marks their first seizure of an asset belonging to a sanctioned individual who has close ties with Russia.
“Together, with our international partners, we will do everything possible to hold accountable any individual whose criminal acts enable the Russian government to continue its unjust war,” Garland said in a statement.
Based on documents filed against Vekselberg, the U.S. investigation alleged that he used shell companies “to obfuscate his interest in the Tango to avoid bank oversight into U.S. dollar transactions”.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said they will continue “to use every lawful tool to go after designated Russian oligarchs’ assets – however, and wherever they hide them.”
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