On Monday 4th April, 2022 the 78 metre yacht TANGO owned by the Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg was seized in Mallorca, Spain by the Spanish Authorities at the request of the United States. The seizure marks the first instance of the United States seizing an asset belonging to a sanctioned Russian oligarch since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
TANGO which is believed to be worth $90 million, was seized in Mallorca following a request from the U.S. Department of Justice. The seizure warrant, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleges that the TANGO was subject to forfeiture based on violation of U.S. bank fraud, money laundering, and sanction statutes.
Separately, seizure warrants obtained in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia target approximately $625,000 associated with sanctioned parties held at nine U.S. financial institutions. Those seizures are based on sanctions violations by several Russian nationals.
According to the U.S, Vekselberg used shell companies to obfuscate his interest in the TANGO, which he allegedly bought in 2011, to avoid bank oversight into U.S. dollar transactions. Vekselberg was previously sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in April 2018 related to worldwide “malign activity” by the Russian government, including Russia’s occupation of Crimea, support of the Assad regime, cyber attacks, and efforts to interfere in Western democracies.
The warrant alleges that Vekselberg and those working on his behalf had continued to make U.S. dollar payments through U.S. banks for the support and maintenance of the TANGO and her owners, including a payment for a December 2020 stay at a luxury water villa resort in the Maldives and mooring fees for the yacht.
She was built in 2011 in the Netherlands by Feadship powered by MTU Diesel Engines and was a regular visitor to Palumbo Malta Superyachts with the last one back to November, 2021.
On another note Vekselberg owns an Airbus A319 aircraft with registration P4-MIS and a Bombardier Global 6000 aircraft with registration M-YVVF.
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Published – Wednesday 6th April, 2022