As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues since February 24, the West is weakening Russia through economic and administrative sanctions. Russian billionaires are paying the price. Seven Russian yachts are said to be in our ports in the Indian Ocean islands.
On February 28, Forbes magazine took stock of more than 100 Russian billionaires and, using data from yacht valuation experts, compiled a list of all the yachts they own. Seven are currently believed to be in the Indian Ocean: three in the Seychelles, three in the Maldives and one in Sri Lanka.
No guidelines for the seizure of yachts
Contacted by us, the Seychelles authorities replied through an intermediary who wished to remain anonymous: “No yacht has been seized and their right of passage is respected. The minister of tourism said that there was no directive from any international authority or request from any bilateral partner to seize the yachts. Since the owners have not committed any crime in Seychelles (and as we have been informed there is no official statement on crimes in other jurisdictions), they are free to come and go as they please. The government of Seychelles is caught between a rock and a hard place,” commented our interlocutor.
In his speech on March 1, U.S. President Joe Biden said that his administration would work with European countries to target Russian oligarchs by seizing “their yachts, their apartments, their private jets…” The European Union has also imposed sanctions on some Russian billionaires. Their personal assets are likely to be frozen. Roman Abramovich, the Russian owner of the London soccer club Chelsea F.C. has announced, resignedly, that he is putting the club, which is one of the biggest clubs in Europe, up for sale.
At the time of writing, we learn that the British government has seized its assets, including the club, so the sale is suspended.