Italian police seize yacht belonging to Russia’s richest man | Ukraine

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

The 65-metre (215ft) ‘Lady M’ was seized in the port of Imperia in northern Italy.

A second yacht owned by Gennady Timchenko, another billionaire who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is also stuck in Imperia and will go into receivership soon.

The move came as Western states implement massive sanctions, including asset freezes, in an attempt to force Russia out of Ukraine.

On Thursday, the French 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, the Lady M was built by US shipbuilders Palmer Johnson in 2013. According to Forbes magazine, it is worth $27 million.

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

Italian media claim he owns a villa worth around 66 million euros ($72 million) on the coast of the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. It was not immediately clear whether this property had ever been seized by police.

Timchenko made his fortune in the oil business and was described by Putin as one of his closest associates. Britain said last month it was a major shareholder in Bank Rossiya, which played a role in destabilizing Ukraine after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

The United States also said it would take strict measures to seize the property of sanctioned Russians.

“Next week, we will launch a multilateral transatlantic task force to identify, track and freeze the assets of sanctioned Russian companies and oligarchs: their yachts, mansions and any other ill-gotten gains we can find and freeze under law” , the White House said.

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