SAN DIEGO – Officials with the United States Department of Justice on Monday announced that a yacht owned by a Russian oligarch and seized last month in Fiji had safely arrived in San Diego after a 5,000-mile journey.
Fijian law enforcement executed a seizure warrant issued by the FBI back in early May and in the weeks that followed, the yacht traveled across the Pacific until it arrived in San Diego. The owner of the yacht is Suleiman Kerimov, a Russian oligarch who was designated by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control as an individual who benefitted from corruption within the Russian government.
“The successful seizure and transport of Amadea would not have been possible without extraordinary cooperation from our foreign partners in the global effort to enforce U.S. sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified war in Ukraine. We hope to make additional footage of the Amadea available at a later date,” DOJ officials said in a statement released Monday.
According to DOJ officials, Kerimov “caused U.S. dollar transactions to be routed through U.S. financial institutions” for the “support and maintenance” of the Amadea, and U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said last month that the superyacht had been purchased with “dirty money.”
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, agents with the FBI and DOJ say that efforts have ramped up to locate oligarchs and other Russian authorities who have been sanctioned for the country’s military aggression against the former U.S.S.R republic.
“This ruling should make clear that there is no hiding place for the assets of individuals who violate U.S. laws. And there is no hiding place for the assets of criminals who enable the Russian regime,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The Justice Department will be relentless in our efforts to hold accountable those who facilitate the death and destruction we are witnessing in Ukraine.”
In addition to an assist from Fijian law enforcement officials, DOJ reps say that the FBI Legal Attaché Office in Canberra, Australia and the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service.
“This seizure demonstrates the FBI’s persistence in pursuing sanctioned Russian oligarchs attempting to evade accountability for their role in jeopardizing our national security,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray in early May. “The FBI, along with our international partners, will continue to seek out those individuals who contribute to the advancement of Russia’s malign activities and ensure they are brought to justice, regardless of where, or how, they attempt to hide.”