ROME (Reuters) – Police have seized a deep yacht from Russian billionaire Andrei Igorevich Melnichenko, the Italian prime minister’s office said on Saturday, just days after the businessman was placed on the European Union’s sanctions list following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The government said the 143-meter yacht A, priced at 530 million euros ($578 million), was booked in the northern port of Trieste.
Designed by Philippe Starck and built by Knopskrug in Germany, the government said the ship is the world’s largest sailing yacht.
Melnichenko owned the largest fertilizer producer EuroChem Group and the SUEK coal company. The companies said in statements on Thursday that he resigned from the board of directors of the two companies and withdrew as the beneficiary as of Wednesday.
Melnichenko’s spokesman, Alex Andreev, said that the businessman “has nothing to do with the tragic events in Ukraine. He has no political affiliations.”
“There is absolutely no justification for putting it on the EU sanctions list,” Andreev said. “We will discuss these baseless and unjustified sanctions and believe that the rule of law and common sense will prevail.
Italian police last week confiscated villas and yachts worth 143 million euros ($156 million) from five high-ranking Russians who have been placed on the sanctions list. Read more
The police operations were part of a coordinated campaign by Western countries to punish wealthy Russians who say they are linked to President Vladimir Putin.
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(Covering) by Emilio Parodi Writing by Giselda Fagnoni Editing by Francis Keri
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