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Date: 2022-06-17 15:52:26
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By Luc Cohen
(Reuters) - A superyacht seized in Fiji last month at the request of U.S. authorities, who say the $300 million Amadea is owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov, has arrived in Hawaii, Refinitiv Eikon vessel tracking data showed.
The U.S. Justice Department's KleptoCapture task force has focused on seizing yachts and other luxury assets of Russian oligarchs in a bid to pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin over the war in Ukraine.
The 106-meter (350-foot) yacht left Fiji's Lautoka port last week after the Pacific island nation's Supreme Court ruled the yacht should leave the country because it was costly for the government to maintain it.
Data from Refinitiv show the vessel moored in Honolulu on Thursday afternoon.
It had arrived in Fiji, where it was seized, on April 13 after an 18-day voyage from Mexico. The FBI said in an affidavit that the vessel turned off its automated information systems on Feb. 24, almost immediately after Russia invaded Ukraine, as part of an effort to avoid seizure.
Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special military operation."
Lawyers for the Amadea's owner, Cayman Islands-registered Millemarin Investment Ltd, told a Fiji court that the Amadea was not owned by Kerimov but by another Russian oligarch who has not been sanctioned, the former Rosneft chief Eduard Khudainatov.
The United States alleges Kerimov is the Amadea's true beneficial owner, but much of the evidence in the April 13 seizure warrant is redacted in the version released to the public.
Kerimov was sanctioned by the United States in 2014 and 2018 in response to Russia's actions in Syria and Ukraine. He has also been sanctioned by the European Union.
The Amadea previously sailed under the Cayman Islands flag, according to public shipping database Equasis. Eikon data showed it arrived in Hawaii flying the U.S. flag.
(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Editing by Marguerita Choy)