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Here Are the Russian Oligarch Superyachts That Have Been Seized

When one helipad is not enough.
IMAGE NICOLAS TUCAT / GETTY IMAGES
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For years, many in the West lamented Russia's system of kleptocratic oligarchy while Western governments happily welcomed in the oligarchs and their gobs of cash. New York City is home to a flock of "ghost buildings," where elites from Russia—and beyond—have pied-a-terres that are seldom lit up at night because nobody is ever there. Entire neighborhoods in London were oligarched over the years, along with one of the city's flagship soccer teams, Chelsea, when Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003. But that all began to change, slowly, in 2014, as Russia engaged in naked aggression towards Ukraine. And now, with Vladimir Putin's campaign of violent terror against that country, it's all begun to come apart.

The headline-grabber in the sweeping sanctions regime imposed on Russia's elite class is the ritual seizing of the yachts. Rich people of every national origin love a big boat, but one could make the case the Russian bigwigs love a boat most of all. And some of these things are, in addition to a gross exhibition of resource-hoarding, fairly impressive feats of engineering and design. So here's a list of the oligarch superyachts that have changed hands since Putin truly crossed the line.

CNBC reports many oligarchs have begun moving their yachts to the Maldives and elsewhere in an attempt to shield them from European Union sanctions. We'll update this if any others see new ownership.


Al Raya, Alisher Usmanov

Photo by ANADOLU AGENCY / GETTY IMAGES.
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Formerly known as Dilbar, this thing is reportedly 512 feet long and weighs 15,917 tons, making it the world's largest motor yacht by weight. Forbes tells us it usually hosts a crew of 96 people. It has two helipads, a beauty salon, a gym, and 12 suites, along with the largest swimming pool ever put on a boat at 82 feet. A custom job, it reportedly took German shipbuilder Lürssen 52 months to build. Usmanov paid $600 million for it. Forbes reports that German authorities seized the vessel from a shipyard in Hamburg, where it was undergoing some renovations. Tough luck for Usmanov, an Uzbek-born mining magnate who's held stakes in telecom companies and Facebook. He's also got extensive real-estate holdings, and was once a major shareholder in London's Arsenal Football Club, adversary to fellow oligarch Abramovich's Chelsea.

Amore Vero, (allegedly) Igor Sechin

Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / GETTY IMAGES.

Reuters reports French authorities are the captain now of this 280-foot vessel, the name of which translates to "True Love" from Italian. The crew was reportedly preparing a hasty departure from La Ciotat, a town near Marseille in the Cote d'Azur, when French customs officers took over management. This one also has a beauty salon and a gym, and France24 reports it hosts a swimming pool that turns into a helipad. The French say that the yacht is owned by a holding company in which Igor Sechin is a the main shareholder. Sechin has been the CEO of Rosneft, the Russian state oil firm, since 2012, and is one of Putin's closest friends and advisors.

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Jack Holmes
Senior Staff Writer
Jack Holmes is a Senior Staff Writer at Esquire, where he covers politics and sports. He also hosts Useful Context, a video series.
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