France announces seizure of Russian oligarch’s €108m yacht

Just days after the announcement that the French finance ministry was drawing up a list of assets owned by sanctioned Russian oligarchs for seizure comes the first action - a yacht has been impounded in a harbour on France's Mediterranean coast.

France announces seizure of Russian oligarch's €108m yacht
Illustration photo of La Ciotat, southern France. Photo by Boris HORVAT / AFP

French customs officials announced on Thursday that they had impounded the yacht Amore Vero, owned by sanctioned billionaire Igor Sechin.

The official announcement said: “During the night of March 2nd to 3rd, French customs officers seized the yacht Amore Vero at the shipyard in La Ciotat, after an inspection lasting several hours.

“Owned by a company in which Igor Sechin, head of the Rosneft company, has been identified as the main shareholder, this yacht fell within the scope of the freezing measures decided against its owner by the European Council.

“These measures, which apply immediately, require the detention of the vessel.”

READ ALSO Côte d’Azur mansions, yachts, private jets: What is France likely to seize from Russian oligarchs?

The 86m-long super-yacht, built in 2013, has an estimated value of €108m – and annual running costs of €10m. 

It was moored in the harbour of La Ciotat, between Marseille and Toulon on France’s Mediterranean coast. According to customs officers, it had arrived there in January and was undergoing repairs, but crew were “making arrangements to leave in a hurry, without having completed the planned work”.

The seizure is likely to be the first of many, as the French finance ministry has created a taskforce of customs officers and tax inspectors to identify and seize assets owned by Russian oligarchs who are under EU sanctions.

It comes after officials in the German port of Hamburg also seized a yacht belonging to a Russian billionaire on Thursday.

Finance minster Bruno Le Maire said: “We thank the French Customs for this seizure carried out as part of the implementation of the European Union sanctions against Russia.”

Member comments

  1. Why. What difference is this going to make? It’s becoming rather silly and smacks of jealousy.

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France ‘strongly condemns’ Russia’s expulsion of its diplomats

France "strongly condemns" the expulsion of 34 of its diplomats by Russia, the foreign ministry said Wednesday, a tit-for-tat move by Moscow after Paris ordered some Russian staff to leave.

France 'strongly condemns' Russia's expulsion of its diplomats

Saying the step had “no legitimate basis”, the ministry said in a statementthat “the work of the diplomats and staff at (France’s) embassy in Russia… takes place fully within the framework of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic and consular relations” — whereas Paris expelled the Russian staff in April on suspicion of being spies.

Moscow said Wednesday it was expelling 34 “employees of French diplomatic missions” in a tit-for-tat move following the
expulsion of Russian diplomats from France as part of joint European action over Russia’s campaign in Ukraine.

“Thirty four employees of French diplomatic missions in Russia have been declared persona non grata,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that they have two weeks to leave the country.

Moscow made the announcement after summoning France’s ambassador to Russia, Pierre Levy, and telling him that the expulsion of 41 employees of Russian diplomatic missions was a “provocative and unfounded decision”, the statement

“It has been stressed that this step causes serious damage to Russian-French relations and constructive bilateral cooperation,” the foreign ministry said.

French President Emmanuel Macron initially led diplomatic outreach to the Kremlin over Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine but his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin have eventually tapered off and overt French military
support to Ukraine has increased in recent months.