A pro-Kremlin oligarch’s impounded yacht is being auctioned off — with the money going to Ukraine

A pro-Kremlin oligarch’s impounded yacht is being auctioned off — with the money going to Ukraine
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Barcolana yacht
The Barcolana yacht owned by Russian Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko, seized by Italian police in October 2022. For illustration purposes only.

  • A Dutch auction house is selling the seized yacht of a pro-Kremlin oligarch, per a Ukraine agency.
  • Ukraine said it’s the first seized asset to be sold to help support the country.
  • The move is a “turning point” that could pave the way for similar efforts abroad, it said.

A Dutch auction house is gearing up to sell a yacht belonging to a pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch, the first time a seized asset is being sold and the funds sent to Ukraine, according to Ukraine’s Asset Recovery and Management Agency.

The agency, a governmental body responsible for finding, tracing, and dealing with assets derived from corruption and other crimes, said Troostwijk Auctions would manage the sale of the 92-meter-long yacht.

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The MY Royal Romance was owned by Viktor Medvedchuk, a Ukrainian lawmaker who had his Ukrainian citizenship revoked for his pro-Russian activities.

The US sanctioned Medvedchuk in March 2014 for his alleged role in the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea, and Ukrainian counterintelligence officers arrested him in April 2022 after he was charged with treason.

He was swapped for 200 Ukrainian prisoners of war in September 2022 after requesting such an exchange shortly after his arrest, according to the Security Service of Ukraine.

Selling yachts owned by those sanctioned by Ukrainian and Western governments has proved to be a headache.

Many of the yachts are “frozen” — not seized — and technically don’t belong to overseas governments, meaning they can’t be sold without special permission.

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As BI previously reported, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted many governments to enact sanctions against Russia’s richest, including seizing superyachts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

But over two years later, it’s still unclear whether they can be sold or, indeed, who’d buy them.

Ukraine’s Asset Recovery and Management Agency described attempts to sell the Royal Romance as 10 months of “tireless” work.

It also described the move as a “turning point” that could pave the way for more similar efforts in Ukraine and abroad.

The “sale of Medvedchuk’s yacht is not only symbolic, as it can be the first impetus and demonstration to the entire community that the assets of traitors to Ukraine will be used for the benefit of Ukraine,” it said.

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The agency did not specify where or when the auction would take place. It also failed to mention the expected price tag.

Ukraine’s Asset Recovery and Management Agency and Troostwijk Auctions did not immediately respond to BI’s request for comments.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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