WORLD NEWS

Russian oligarch’s luxury yacht seized in Spain at US’ request

Apr 4, 2022, 5:15 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 3:16 pm
A Civil Guard stands by the yacht called Tango in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Monday April 4, 2022. U...
A Civil Guard stands by the yacht called Tango in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Monday April 4, 2022. U.S. federal agents and Spain's Civil Guard are searching the yacht owned by a Russian oligarch. The yacht is among the assets linked to Viktor Vekselberg, a billionaire and close ally with Russia's President Vladimir Putin, who heads the Moscow-based Renova Group, a conglomerate encompassing metals, mining, tech and other assets, according to U.S. Treasury Department documents. All of Vekselberg's assets in the U.S. are frozen and U.S. companies are forbidden from doing business with him and his entities. (AP Photo/Francisco Ubilla)
(AP Photo/Francisco Ubilla)

(CNN) — A 255-foot luxury yacht owned by a Russian billionaire was seized by Spanish law enforcement on Monday at the request of US officials, according to the Justice Department.

The Russian, Viktor Vekselberg, has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and his case marks the first seizure by a newly formed US task force that’s dedicated to cracking down on sanctions violators in response to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The US Justice Department said the $90 million superyacht, dubbed “Tango,” was seized based on alleged violations of US bank fraud, money laundering and sanctions statutes. Its seizure happened on Spain’s Mallorca island in the Mediterranean, according to court documents.

The US judge who allowed the seizure, Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui, issued a scathing eight-page order in which he cited Putin’s “murder of civilians” and destruction of Ukraine’s cities.

“The seizure of the Target Property is just the beginning of the reckoning that awaits those who would facilitate Putin’s atrocities. Neither the Department of Justice, nor history, will be kind to the Oligarchs who chose the wrong side,” Faruqui wrote.

Faruqui concluded his order with a reference to a March CNN article that detailed the damage to Snake Island, where Ukrainian defenders famously responded to the threat of Russian invasion with the words: “Russian warship, go f*** yourself.”

“The Department of Justice’s seizure echoes the message of the brave Ukrainian soldiers of Snake Island,” Faruqui wrote.

 

DOJ special unit

 

US Attorney General Merrick Garland said Monday’s seizure “will not be the last.”

“Together, with our international partners, we will do everything possible to hold accountable any individual whose criminal acts enable the Russian government to continue its unjust war,” he said in a statement.

Another $625,000 spread across nine different banks was frozen as part of investigations into sanctions violations by Russian nationals, according to the department.

The DOJ announced last month that it was launching a special unit to help enforce sanctions against Russian government officials and oligarchs, targeting their yachts, jets, real estate and other assets.

The unit, called KleptoCapture, includes prosecutors and federal agents and experts in money laundering, tax enforcement and national security investigations from the FBI, the IRS, the US Marshals Service, and the US Postal Inspection Service.

Though a handful of Russian oligarchs — those billionaires who made much of their fortunes under the watchful eye of Putin — have called for peace since the war in Ukraine began, many have stayed quiet as nations cut off their access to markets and commerce.

This story has been updated with additional details.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

World News

Image for this story only...
Yoonjung Seo and Caitlin Hu

North Korea fires another missile as tensions rise around Korean Peninsula

North Korea fired another missile into the waters off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula on Thursday morning local time, according to South Korean and Japanese officials, escalating tensions in the area amid a series of shows of military might this week.
1 day ago
FILE - The logo of the Organization of the Petroleoum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is seen outside of...
David McHugh, AP Business Writer

OPEC+ makes big oil cut to boost prices; pump costs may rise

OPEC+ alliance makes big cut to world oil production to boost sagging prices, which could mean rising costs at the pump
1 day ago
FILE: SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JULY 25:  Vladimir Putin, President of Russia speaks during the Pr...
Joshua Berlinger and Olga Voitovych, CNN

Ukraine is hitting Russia hard in the regions Moscow is trying to seize

Vladimir Putin sought to finalize the formalities of its claim to four Ukrainian regions, none of which are fully controlled by Russia anymore.
2 days ago
An aerial view of destroyed buildings on Oct. 3, 2022, in Izium, Ukraine. Izium is still without el...
Adam Schreck and Vasilisa Stepanenko, Associated Press

Russian losses evident in key liberated Ukrainian city

The bodies of Russian soldiers are lying in the streets of a key city in eastern Ukraine following their comrades' retreat that has marked the latest defeat for Moscow.
2 days ago
FILE: North Koraen Leader Kim Jong Un (Photo by Korea Summit Press Pool/Getty Images)...
Yoonjung Seo, Emiko Jozuka, Brad Lendon and Simone McCarthy, CNN

North Korea launches missile over Japan, sending residents to shelter

Japan urged residents to take shelter early Tuesday morning after North Korea fired at least one ballistic missile over the north of the country.
3 days ago
Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury during the first half in Game Four of the 2021 WNBA semi...
VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press

Russian court sets Brittney Griner appeal date for Oct. 25

A Russian court has set a date for American basketball star Brittney Griner’s appeal against her nine-year prison sentence for drug possession.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Russian oligarch’s luxury yacht seized in Spain at US’ request