He has been under the gun of the Italian police since the beginning of March. For weeks now, an investigation team from the Guardia di Finanza has been investigating who might be the owner of the mysterious superyacht Scheherazade, worth more than 650 million euros, which has been docked at the shipyard in Marina di Carrara since September. Curious residents of the area have been calling it “Putin’s yacht” for several months now. According to Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, it belongs to the country’s president.
Last night, the Italian government ordered the confiscation of Scheherazade after an investigation by the authorities revealed important links to “prominent figures in the Russian government,” in addition to Russian figures sanctioned by the West as a result of the invasion of Ukraine. However, he did not specify whether it was the president’s yacht.
The big question remains whether the 140-meter-long Scheherazade under the flag of the Cayman Islands belongs to a Russian oligarch or directly to the country’s president. Among the largest yachts in the world, this is the only one whose owner is unknown, which fuels suspicions even more.
Navalny’s team of journalists insists that the yacht belongs to Putin, but formally it belongs to Eduard Khudainatov, the former president of Rosneft and also the owner of the Villa Altakiara mansion in Portofino, although it does not formally appear on the list of Russian billionaires under sanctions.
The Economy Ministry clarified that the owner was not on this list compiled by Brussels, but also asked for it to be corrected and ordered the ship to be confiscated pending a decision. The Italian police were in a hurry because, after several months of repairs at the shipyards of Marina di Carrara at a cost of six million euros, the ship was launched again last Thursday. He seemed to be ready to sail again.
It has two helipads, a pool with a retractable cover that transforms into a dance floor, and a gym. The Scheherazade is the most luxurious yacht captured by Italy to date, but not the only one. They also froze, among other things, the world’s largest sailing yacht SY A, designed by Philippe Starck for Andrey Melnichenko, one of Russia’s richest men, founder of the MBR bank and with investments in the petrochemical sector. This ship alone, moored in the port of Trieste, is estimated at 530 million euros.
Apart from this latest operation, Rome confiscated yachts and villas worth 953 million euros from billionaires loyal to Vladimir Putin who had a favorite summer vacation spot in the trans-Alpine country.
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