The government is sticking to its decision to seize a superyacht in London to “make life in the capital harder for Russian elites”.
It comes after the boat’s captain called the move a “PR stunt” and said ministers “got the wrong man”.
National Crime Agency (NCA) officers raided the Phi, a lavish £38million boat with a wine cellar and swimming pool, on March 29.
The Transport Ministry claims the boat’s owner is an individual who “wants to profit from ties to Putin’s regime.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps personally visited his Canary Wharf berth to explain the move as a blow to the Russian President’s allies with assets in the UK.
Its paper owner is Sergei Naumenko, who is reportedly named on the warrant but is not on the sanctions list.
The NCA previously said “ownership of the yacht was intentionally well hidden”, adding: “The company with which the vessel is registered is based on the islands of St Kitts and Nevis and carried Maltese flags to indicate its provenance.” to hide.”
But the ship’s captain has attacked authorities, accusing them of “making headlines, clickbaiting, attracting attention” in a Sky News interview.
Guy Booth said: “Phi is a low flyer, she’s the only Russian boat around here. It was easy prey for social media.”
He said its owner had provided financial information to British authorities and “none of this connects the boat’s owner to any position in Russian politics, to Mr Putin or to any other political aspiration”.
Under sanctions legislation, UK authorities can detain any ship “owned, controlled, chartered or operated by persons associated with Russia”.
Mr Booth claimed his boss was considering legal action, but the transport department believes the owner is not contesting the fact that he is within the purview of sanctions.
MORE : Lightning, mysterious and agile: Why Russian oligarchs just love a mega yacht
The Department of Transportation said: “We stand firm in our decision to seize assets such as the Phi, which meet both the scope and purpose of sanctions, and will always stand with Ukraine against this despicable and illegal war.”
“The foreign minister will continue to act within his available powers to increase economic pressure on Russia and make life harder for Russian elites.”
Since the attack on Ukraine began on February 24, yachts linked to notable Russian businessmen such as Roman Abramovich, Alisher Usmanov and Igor Sechin have all been seized by various European governments.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/16/london-government-defence-russian-superyacht-seizure-in-canary-wharf-16842317/ London: Seizure of Russian superyacht by government defense at Canary Wharf