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Who owns this yacht:

A dispute has broken out in the USA over the “Amadea”, here in Turkish waters

Photo: Anadolu / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Crew, fuel, waste disposal, maintenance – if you buy a luxury yacht, you have to accept extensive ongoing costs. In the case of the $300 million superyacht “Amadea,” they amount to $600,000 a month. Expensive fun – which the US authorities currently have to finance.

The US government ordered the 106-meter-long boat to be confiscated in Fiji in April 2022. The reason: The yacht allegedly belongs to the Russian billionaire

Suleiman Kerimov

(57), who became rich with shares in the energy giant Gazprom and the Russian Sperbank, among other things. According to the US magazine Forbes, Kerimov and his family currently have assets of around $10.7 billion. He is said to have close relationships with Russian President

Vladimir Putin

(71) and the Chechen ruler

Ramzan Kadyrov

(47). The seizure of the “Amadea” took place as part of the sanctions imposed because of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

US authorities alone have to transfer 360,000 dollars every month for the crew of the “Amadea”. In addition, there will be $75,000 for fuel and $165,000 for maintenance, waste disposal, food and other expenses, according to the Bloomberg news agency, citing court documents filed in Manhattan on Friday. The costs are "anything but modest," according to the US government. It believes that the public should not pay these high sums - and therefore wants to sell the luxury yacht. The New York court must now decide on this.

The “Amadea,” which has six decks and a helipad, has been in US custody for months. The ship was seized by the Fijian authorities at the request of the USA. It then sailed from the Fiji Islands to Honolulu and on to San Diego.

There is one problem, however: Apparently it is not at all clear who actually owns the “Amadea”.

The U.S. claims Kerimov was the owner and violated sanctions by making payments to U.S. companies or by passing such payments through the U.S. financial system, according to Bloomberg. At the same time,

Eduard Khudainatow

(63), the former boss of the Russian oil producer Rosneft,

also appeared on the scene.

Khudainatov claims to be the actual owner of the ship.

The lawyers of Khudainatov, against whom the USA has not imposed any sanctions, are therefore calling on the USA to return the yacht to their client. Khudainatov, his lawyers continued, would even reimburse the US authorities for the previous costs of maintaining the “Amadea”. In total, these costs already amount to around $20 million. The lawyers called the seizure “unlawful,” according to Bloomberg.

What is remarkable at this point is that Khudainatov is by no means a stranger to the topic of oligarch yachts and sanctions. His name was already mentioned in 2022 when it came to who owned a mega-yacht called “Scheherazade” estimated at $700 million. At the time, the suspicion arose that Khudainatov was merely acting as a straw man - and that "Scheherazade" was in fact directly attributable to Russian President Putin.

Background: Ex-Rosneft boss Khudainatov is said to have good connections to

Igor Sechin

(63), the current Rosneft boss. He, in turn, is considered a close confidante of Putin.

So it's no wonder that the USA is also suspicious in the current case. They claim that oligarch Kerimov conducted a series of transactions with shell companies to hide his ownership. However, he is the “beneficial owner” of “Amadea”.

The USA therefore rejects Khudainatov's demand for the yacht to be returned - but not without demanding that he pay for its maintenance as long as the dispute drags on. With Khudainatov not paying, the government feels it has the right to sell the Amadea to end the "excessive" costs, according to Bloomberg.

Whatever the court decides, it probably shouldn't allow too much time to pass. Because the cost clock continues to run. The report said this month's regular payments will be in addition to a $1.7 million annual insurance bill that the U.S. Department of Justice must pay. The “Amadea” is also scheduled to be moved into dry dock in March for repairs. Cost according to the USA: 5.6 million dollars.

However, there is a small consolation for the US authorities: payment of $600,000 per month will be suspended during the time in dry dock.