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US taxpayers have paid nearly $20M to maintain superyacht seized from Russian oligarch in 2022
Photo by EUGENE TANNER/AFP via Getty Images

US taxpayers have paid nearly $20M to maintain superyacht seized from Russian oligarch in 2022

A luxury superyacht seized from a Russian in 2022 has cost the American taxpayer so much that the government is seeking a judge's permission to auction it.

The Amadea, a 348-foot superyacht with a price tag of $300 million, was seized in Fiji in April 2022 by the Department of Justice after the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctioned the boat's owner, Suleiman Kerimov.

The treasury sanctioned the man in 2018 over alleged money laundering. He is reportedly worth around $14 billion, according to NBC News.

During the yacht's approximately 22 months in forfeiture, the government has spent nearly $20 million maintaining the superb vehicle. As reported by the National Pulse, the cost to maintain the Amadea is about $600,000 per month. This is made up $360,000 for crew, $75,000 per month in fuel, and an additional $165,000 in unnamed maintenance costs.

When a $1.7 million annual insurance bill is included, that brings the estimated total to $18,300,000 and counting.

With the bills piling up, the government has finally determined the sitting costs to be "excessive" and has requested that a judge allow the superyacht to be auctioned.

"The carrying costs for the Amadea are far from modest, and there is good cause to spare the Government and the public from bearing these costs," a filing stated, according to Business Insider.

Another Russian oligarch may have thrown a wrench into the Treasury Department's plan, however. Eduard Khudainatov has claimed ownership of the yacht, and since he has not been sanctioned by the United States, he wants his supposed property returned to him.

Khudainatov's legal representatives told Bloomberg that the seizure of the ship was "unlawful," but he is willing to pay the United States back for the maintenance costs of the Amadea.

U.S. officials claimed, however, that while Kerimov used shell company transactions to hide that he is the owner, he is indeed the yacht's true "beneficial owner," with control and rights to the ship.

In addition to the yacht seizure, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has blocked a trust worth over $1 billion that Kerimov "holds a property interest" in. The Delaware Heritage Trust was "formed in July 2017 for the purpose of holding and managing Kerimov’s U.S.-based assets," a 2022 government document stated.

Kerimov was accused of using a complex series of legal entities and "front persons" to obscure his interest in the trust, with the funds "subsequently invested in large public and private U.S. companies and managed by a series of U.S. investment firms and facilitators."

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