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Spain seizes yacht owned by Russian oligarch close to Putin

Authorities seized Monday a mega yacht in Spain owned by an oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the demand of the United States, Spanish police said.

In this handout image released by Spanish Guardia Civil on April 4, 2022, Spanish civil guards and US agents of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) search a yacht owned by Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg in Palma de Mallorca. – Authorities seized on April 4, 2022 a mega yacht in Spain owned by an oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the demand of the United States, Spanish police said. The 78-meter-long yacht named Tango was impounded at the Mediterranean port of Palma de Mallorca by Spanish police in coordination with US federal agents, Spain’s Guardia Civil police force said in a statement. (Photo by Handout / Spanish Guardia Civil / AFP) /

Authorities seized Monday a mega yacht in Spain owned by an oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the demand of the United States, Spanish police said.

The 78-meter-long yacht named Tango was impounded at the Mediterranean port of Palma de Mallorca by Spanish police in coordination with US federal agents, Spain’s Guardia Civil police force said in a statement.

The Tango, worth over 90 million euros ($99 million), belongs to Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, the head of conglomerate Renova Group who is “very close” to Putin, the statement added.

Renova and some other Russian companies were added to a US sanctions black-list in 2018 as part of Washington’s efforts to punish Moscow for its alleged attacks against “Western democracies”.

While Vekselberg is not “at the moment” the target of European Union sanctions, he is under investigation in the United States for trying to conceal his ownership of the yacht to avoid Washington’s sanctions, the statement said.

Spanish and US agents seized documents and computers from the vessel that carries the flag of the Cook Islands to “confirm the identity of its real owner”, police added.

This is the fourth yacht linked to a Russian billionaire to be impounded in Spain since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

The three other yachts are suspected of belonging to Russian oligarchs who are sanctioned by the European Union over the Ukraine war.

The authorities in Italy and France have also impounded yachts with links to Russian oligarchs as part of Europe’s efforts to pressure Putin to pull back from Ukraine.