The U.S. government seized a mega-yacht in Spain owned by an oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Driving the news: The yacht, seized on Monday, is the first in United States’ initiatives to “seize and freeze” boats, among other valuable assets. It belonged to Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, who has been accused of conspiring to commit bank fraud and money laundering.
- According to The Associated Press, Spain’s Civil Guard, the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations worked worked together at the request of U.S. authorities.
What they’re saying: “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,” said U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland in a statement, per Bloomberg.
Details: The boat, called Tango, is a 78-meter vessel with a Cook Islands flag, valued at $99 million. It sits at the port of Palma de Mallorca after being impounded.
Who is the oligarch?: According to Forbes, Vekselberg is a Ukrainian-born oligarch who made his first million selling copper scraps from worn-out cables. His current net worth as of Monday is $5.8 billion. He is also the founder of Renova Group, the largest stakeholder in United Co. Rusal, Russia’s dominating aluminum producer. He is also a close ally of Putin.
Flashback: Vekselberg was first sanctioned in 2018, and again after the invasion began.