Police in Fiji examined the arrival of a luxury catamaran owned by a Russian tycoon on Thursday, interrogating the skipper about how he transported the vessel to the Pacific island nation without customs clearance.
The superyacht Amadea, owned by a Russian billionaire, Suleiman Kerimov, who has been sanctioned by the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, was seized and its crew jailed, according to Fiji newspapers.
The captain of the yacht, which landed on Tuesday, is being questioned about how it got to Fiji without customs clearance, according to a source at the National Police Command and Control Centre.
In the aftermath of the invasion, which Moscow describes as a special military operation, Russian President Vladimir Putin, politicians, and corporate leaders have faced harsh sanctions, while European countries have taken property including villas and yachts.
The Amadea had docked in Fiji’s Lautoka port, according to the US embassy, and the embassy was cooperating with Fijian authorities on the matter.
‘The United States is dedicated to tracking down and seizing the assets of billionaires who have backed Russia’s savage, unjustified war against Ukraine,’ the embassy said in a statement.
‘We and some of our EU partners have already frozen or seized several assets of these oligarchs. We are working closely with governments and business sector partners throughout Europe, and the entire world, including Fiji, on this issue.’
The Attorney General’s office had been contacted by a foreign country requesting assistance in a criminal situation, and Fiji has agreements with other nations to implement sanctions on Russian billionaires, according to Commissioner of Police Brigadier General Sitivini Qiliho.
According to the Fiji Times, European Union delegations in Fiji had also urged collaboration.
The media reported that Fiji had been notified of the Amadea’s approach before it moored at Lautoka Wharf.
Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-office Khaiyum’s declined to comment, claiming it was an issue for the Fiji government to handle internally.