Italian police seize yacht owned by Russia’s richest man | Ukraine

Italian police have seized a yacht owned by Alexei Mordashov, the richest man in Russia before being blacklisted this week by the European Union following Moscow’s attack on Ukraine.

The 65-meter (215-ft) “Lady M” was impounded in the northern Italian port of Imperia.

A second yacht owned by Gennady Timchenko, another billionaire who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is also blocked in Imperia and will be sequestered shortly.

The move came as western states implement massive sanctions, including asset freezes, to try to force Russia to withdraw from Ukraine.

On Thursday, France’s finance minister announced the seizure of a yacht linked to Igor Sechin, the boss of Rosneft, in the Mediterranean port of La Ciotat.

According to Italian media, Lady M was built by US shipbuilders Palmer Johnson in 2013. Forbes magazine says it is worth $ 27m.

Mordashov built his wealth around the Russian steel producer Severstal. Taking into account the assets of his whole family, Forbes estimates that Mordashov had an estimated net worth of $ 29.1bn before sanctions hit, making him the richest man in Russia.

Italian media says he owns a villa worth some 66m euros ($ 72m) on the coast of the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. It was not immediately clear if that property had yet been seized by police.

Timchenko made a fortune in oil trading and has been described by Putin as one of his closest associates. Britain said last month that he was a major shareholder in Bank Rossiya, which played a role in the destabilization of Ukraine after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.

The US has also said it will take strict action to seize property of sanctioned Russians.

“This coming week, we will launch a multilateral transatlantic taskforce to identify, hunt down, and freeze the assets of sanctioned Russian companies and oligarchs: their yachts, their mansions, and any other ill-gotten gains that we can find and freeze under the law, ”the White House said.

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