Mysterious superyacht docked in Italy has a crew that could include Putin’s bodyguards, say activists working with Putin opponent Alexei Navalny
Activists say a mysterious superyacht is staffed by members of Russian state security.
The Scheherazade is one of the largest superyachts in the world, but its owner is not known to the public.
It is rumored to belong to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A mysterious superyacht whose owner has not been publicly named is said to be made up of several members of a Russian state agency tasked with protecting Russian President Vladimir Putin.
On Monday, investigative journalist Maria Pevchikh and anti-corruption campaigner Georgy Alburov – two activists working with imprisoned Putin opponent Alexei Navalny – posted a video on YouTube about the mysterious superyacht, named Scheherazade, moored on the coast from Carrara, Italy. .
The Scheherazade, one of the largest ships of its type in the world, is a superyacht without a public owner, The New York Times reported.
According to the video, the 140-meter-long ship is worth 75 billion rubles, or about $700 million, and includes six floors, two helipads, a swimming pool, a spa complex and a beauty salon.
Pevchikh and Alburov said they obtained a December 2020 crew list showing that all permanent crew members except the ship’s captain were Russian. The video also indicated that some of the ship’s personnel worked for the FSO, a militarized state agency tasked with being the president’s personal protection.
Earlier this month, US officials told The New York Times they were investigating whether the ship belonged to Putin but had reached no firm conclusions. Italian authorities have also looked into the ownership of the vessel, according to The Times.
Through “open-source research”, Pevchikh said he was able to identify at least 10 FSO officers who were on the Scheherazade crew list. Insider was unable to independently confirm which crew personnel worked for the FSO.
“They are Russian state employees, military, and they regularly travel to Italy in groups to work on the mystery yacht,” she tweeted.
The United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union have cracked down on Russia and sought to seize the luxury assets of some Russian oligarchs – including superyachts – via economic sanctions, following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
Navalny’s team is urging Italian authorities to seize the yacht if they confirm the boat’s owner is Putin.
The captain of the superyacht, Guy Bennett-Pearce, told The Times that Italian officials had boarded the vessel earlier this month as part of an investigation by Italian financial police and that he had no “no other choice” than to hand over documents revealing the identity of the owner. .
“They’re watching carefully. They’re looking at every aspect. It’s not the local brass coming down – it’s men in dark suits,” he said, adding that the information would be treated with “confidentiality.”
“I have no doubt in my mind that this will clear the ship of all negative rumors and speculation,” he told The Times.
Bennett-Pearce, a British national who is believed to be the only non-Russian working on the ship, did not rule out the superyacht’s owner could be Russian, but said he could not say more due to a “watertight non-disclosure agreement”. “He said the owner was not on any sanctions list.
“I’ve never seen it,” he said. “I have never met him.”
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