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 to send more mobile artillery to Ukraine

France will send 12 further Caesar truck-mounted howitzers to Ukraine for its fight against Russian invaders, Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu said on Tuesday.

France to send more mobile artillery to Ukraine

The artillery pieces, adding to 18 already delivered, would be financed from a €200-million fund France set up to fund arms for Kyiv, Lecornu said in a joint Paris press conference with his Ukranian counterpart Oleksiy Reznikov.

Alongside other Western-supplied mobile cannons like the German Panzerhaubitze 2000, the Caesar was credited last year with helping Ukraine strike targets deep behind Russian lines, undermining Moscow’s offensive.

The truck-mounted 155mm guns can set up, fire a highly-accurate volley at ranges of up to 40 kilometres and shift position before the enemy can locate them and fire back.

Lecornu said the new batch of howitzers would be delivered in the coming weeks.

Denmark has also pledged its entire 19-strong fleet of the French-made howitzers to the Ukrainian war effort.

France was by early December the 7th-largest supporter of Ukraine since the war broke out, according to data on military and financial aid collated by the Germany-based Institute for the World Economy think-tank – not yet taking into account major announcements of military equipment last month.

But European donors remain far short of the United States’ military aid commitments.