U.S. officials received a legal victory on Friday in their efforts to seize a Russian oligarch's superyacht moored in Fiji.
The Fiji Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from Millemarin Investment, the company maintaining the $325 million Russian-owned yacht, the Amadea, as Western countries work to sanction Russian oligarchs for their involvement in the war in Ukraine.
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The United States has no jurisdiction under Fiji's mutual assistance laws that would allow the vessel to be seized, argued Feizal Haniff, the legal representative for Millemarin. He intends to take his case to Fiji'S Supreme Court, according to the Associated Press.
The Court of Appeal has given its judgment a seven-day delay before going into effect, offering Haniff or other officials a chance to file appeals if desired.
The ship belongs to Suleyman Kerimov, owner of Russia's biggest gold producer, Polyus, according to U.S. authorities. Millemarin disputes this claim, saying the vessel is actually owned by Eduard Khudainatov.
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The Amadea arrived in Fiji on April 12 after departing Mexico in an attempt to evade the sanctions placed on Kerimov by the U.S. and its allies in the United Kingdom and the European Union. A week after its arrival, the Fiji High Court barred the vessel from leaving its waters "until the finalisation of an application to register a warrant to seize the property."
Russian yachts have been a target of sanctions since the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine by Russia. German officials seized the world's largest yacht, owned by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, on April 16.