- The US wants to auction a $300 million superyacht seized from a Russian oligarch due to high maintenance costs.
- The yacht, allegedly owned by sanctioned billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, was seized in Fiji and then moved to the US.
- Another Russian oligarch, Eduard Khudainatov, claims to own the yacht and wants it back.
The US wants to sell a $300 million superyacht seized from a Russian oligarch because it’s getting too expensive to maintain it, a court filing from Friday shows.
The yacht in question is the 348-foot-long Amadea, which was seized in Fiji in April 2022. The yacht has a helicopter pad, a swimming pool, fire pits, and a movie theater.
Amadea was then seized by the US Department of Justice. It arrived in the country in June. US officials allege the ship is owned by sanctioned Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, who is worth $9.2 billion.
Since seizing the ship, the US government has been paying $600,000 a month in maintenance — a cost that is “excessive,” according to the court filing, which Business Insider viewed. The US is now requesting a judge’s permission to auction off the superyacht.
“The carrying costs for the Amadea are far from modest, and there is good cause to spare the Government and the public from bearing these costs,” the filing states.
The problem is that another Russian oligarch, Eduard Khudainatov, claims to own the yacht and wants the vessel back. Khudainatov hasn’t been sanctioned by the US.
Legal representatives for Khudainatov did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment sent outside regular business hours. They told Bloomberg in a statement that the seizure was “unlawful” and that their client would pay the US back for the maintenance of the Amadea yacht.
The legal wrangling surrounding the Amadea underscores the challenges of determining the ownership of a superyacht due to a complex ownership structure that could include shell companies.
This could prolong the process of determining the next steps surrounding the yachts — which are sitting around and racking up millions of dollars in annual maintenance fees borne by taxpayers.
The case is US v. M/Y Amadea, 23-cv-09304, US District Court, Southern District of New York.