Cruising for a bruising: megayachts run low on safe harbours
‘Neutral’ Fiji’s seizure of Amadea sends warning to Russian oligarchs hoping to hide their ill-gotten gains
When the $325m (R5.2bn) Amadea superyacht that’s been linked to Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov sailed into Fiji in April, the captain may have figured he had found a safe haven.
The laid-back South Pacific island nation hadn’t joined in a global push to impose sanctions on Russia and many of President Vladimir Putin’s wealthy supporters, and had just a few weeks before abstained from a UN resolution supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
Yet a week after the Amadea arrived, Fiji authorities detained the luxurious yacht at the request of the US government, which argued that Kerimov — who has been sanctioned for his ties to Putin — was the true owner of the ship. The US eventually won a series of legal challenges and seized the vessel, sailing it to Honolulu last week...