United States Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Monday that the Department of Justice seized its first asset belonging to a “sanctioned individual with close ties to the Russian regime” supporting President Vladimir Putin's war on Ukraine.
At the request of the DOJ, a Spanish court issued an order freezing a super-yacht, known as “The Tango,” owned by Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg that is docked in the resort city of Palma de Mallorca.
The DOJ alleges Vekselberg used “U.S. dollar payments through U.S. banks” to buy and maintain the boat, including paying for mooring fees and rooms at a luxury resort in the Maldives. It says he used shell companies to hide his ownership of The Tango and avoid U.S. bank oversight, prosecutors added. Garland said the $90 million boat would be “forfeited as the proceeds of a crime.”
The seizure is part of Task Force KleptoCapture, a U.S. effort to hold individuals accountable for enabling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. For the past several weeks oligarchs' super-yachts and other assets around the world have been targeted for seizure as a consequence of Russia's brutal attack on Ukraine.
“Today marks our taskforce’s first seizure of an asset belonging to a sanctioned individual with close ties to the Russian regime. It will not be the last,” said Garland in a statement. “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.”
“Today’s seizure of Viktor Vekselberg’s yacht, the Tango, in Spain is the result of an unprecedented multinational effort to enforce U.S. sanctions targeting those elites who have enabled Russia’s unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine,” added Director Andrew Adams of Task Force KleptoCapture. “For those who have tied their fortunes to a brutal and lawless regime, today’s action is a message that those nations dedicated to the rule of law are equally dedicated to separating the oligarchs from their tainted luxuries. This seizure is only the beginning of the Task Force’s work in this global effort to punish those who have and continue to support tyranny for financial gain.”
Here is video of the vessel being boarded and seized.
B-roll from Seizure of $90M Yacht of Sanctioned Russian Oligarch Vekselberg by Spain at U.S. Request youtu.be