Superyacht crew uses codenames for Russian oligarch and his family: FBI

  • The United States is trying to seize a $300 million yacht in Fiji linked to a sanctioned Russian oligarch.
  • Her crew used codenames for the ship’s owner and his family, according to court documents obtained by SCS.
  • Their emails referred to the sanctioned oligarch as “G0” and his wife as “G-1”, according to the FBI.

The crew of the $300m ‘Amadea’ superyacht, which the US says is owned by a sanctioned Russian oligarch, used codenames for the ship’s owner and his family members, the FBI has claimed in a affidavit obtained by CBS News.

The FBI affidavit claimed emails found on the ship’s computers referred to alleged owner Suleiman Kerimov as “G0”, his wife as “G-1” and their two children as “G -2” and “G-3,” according to CBS.

Kerimov was sanctioned by the United States in 2018 following the Russian invasion of Crimea and the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine. In 2017, the billionaire, who is said to have “close ties” to Russian President Vladimir Putin, was accused of bringing suitcases filled with hundreds of millions of euros to France and laundering the funds through real estate purchases. luxury.

Court documents show Kerimov owned the Amadea after it was sanctioned by the United States, the Justice Department said in a press release in May. The department claims the oligarch has used the US dollar and US financial institutions for the “support and maintenance” of Amadea, which can cost between $25 million and $30 million a year.

The 348-foot Amadea, equipped with a helipad, swimming pool and eight cabins, is one of the largest superyachts in the world.

Superyacht Amadea is moored at Queens Wharf in Lautoka, Fiji on April 15, 2022.

Superyacht Amadea is moored at Queens Wharf in Lautoka, Fiji on April 15, 2022.

Leon Lord/Fiji Sun via AP, File

But Feizal Haniff, the lawyer representing the company that owns the Amadea, said the yacht actually belonged to a Russian oil executive named Eduard Khudainatov, who is not sanctioned.

Fiji law enforcement says it found only one crew email mentioning Khudainatov, compared to ‘several’ crew emails discussing trips the Kerimov family took this winter, according to the FBI affidavit, according to the CBS report. The US Department of Justice, Fiji Court of Appeal and Haniff did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Suleyman Kerimov and Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and businessman, billionaire Suleiman Kerimov (left) seen during a visit to the Sirius Center for Talented Children August 6, 2019 in Sochi, Russia.

Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The codenames allegedly used by the crew of the Amadea are examples of tactics used to conceal ownership of a sanctioned person’s overseas assets in order to avoid seizure. For the purchase of luxury yachts and real estate as well as multimillion-dollar works of art, a certain level of buyer anonymity is possible thanks to the complex layering of front companies, experts said. experts at Insider.

Late last week, a Fijian court rejected Haniff’s appeal, which prevented the Amadea from being seized by US officials. He has until Friday to appeal.

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