Mysterious $700 million superyacht linked to Putin grabbed by Italian authorities
'Scheherazade', worth an estimated $700 million, is the subject of a probe into its ownership by Italy's financial police. (Federico SCOPPA AFP)

On Friday, Rolling Stone reported that Italian authorities have seized an opulent superyacht believed to be owned by Vladimir Putin himself, before it could leave port.

The seizure is part of an ongoing effort by Western countries to punish the Kremlin for the invasion of Ukraine.

"The $700 million, 459-foot Scheherazade, worth approximately $700 million, had been under investigation since March, when Italian authorities boarded the ship as part of the European Union’s sanctions against Russian oligarchs," reported Daniel Kreps. "While Scheherazade’s ownership was under question, anti-corruption journalists working with jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny long claimed that the ship belonged to Putin; U.S. officials also linked the Scheherazade to Putin, the New York Times reported."

"A subsequent report by Italian newspaper La Stampa connected the Scheherazade through shell companies to Russian oligarch Eduard Yurievich Khudainatov, former president of Russian oil company Rosneft, though his 'ownership' is believed to obfuscate the real owner of the ship," the report continued.

This is the latest of a series of seizures of luxury yachts around the world believed to be connected to Russian oligarchs.

In March, a yacht belonging to Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov was seized in Germany. And in April, Spanish authorities froze a yacht known as "The Tango," owned by oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.