A complaint was filed on Monday by the US Department of Justice in Manhattan federal court. The complaint was lodged by Damian Williams, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Margaret Moser, Acting Chief of the Justice Department’s Anti-Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, and Jennifer Kennedy Gelley, Acting Chief of the Justice Department’s Counterintelligence and Export Enforcement Division.
The complaint targets the superyacht Amadea, which is 106 meters long and valued at $330 million. Currently, the yacht is moored in San Diego. If the lawsuit is successful, the yacht will likely be auctioned off, and the proceeds will be transferred to Ukraine.
The lawsuit alleges that Suleyman Kerimov violated US sanctions by making payments for the yacht’s maintenance through US financial institutions. These sanctions were imposed in 2014 and 2018 in relation to Russian actions in Syria and Ukraine. The US prosecutors claim that the yacht was transferred from Millemarin to Errigan Marine to make it appear as if it belonged to Evgeniy Kochman, the president of the sanctioned yacht broker Imperial Yachts. However, prosecutors argue that Kochman was merely a front owner.
Lawyers for Millemarin Investments, the owner of the yacht, have stated in a Fiji court that the yacht actually belongs to Eduard Khudainatov, the former head of Rosneft, who is not under sanctions. The US Department of Justice’s lawsuit does not mention Khudainatov. Lawyers for Khudainatov’s company have filed a counterclaim demanding that the arrest be lifted from the yacht, alleging that it was “seized on false grounds for political reasons”.
According to Forbes, Suleyman Kerimov and his family have a fortune estimated at $10.7 billion, largely acquired through his stake in the Russian gold mining company Polyus, which came under American sanctions in May 2023.