Fiji probes Russian oligarch’s vessel

Police in Fiji are investigating the arrival of a luxury vessel owned by a Russian oligarch, questioning its captain about how he brought the boat to the Pacific island nation without customs clearance.

Fiji newspapers reported police had seized the superyacht Amadea, owned by Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov — who has been sanctioned by Australia, the United States, Britain and the European Union over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — and detained its crew.

An official at the National Police Command and Control Centre confirmed to Reuters the captain of the vessel, which arrived on Tuesday, was being questioned about how it came to Fiji without customs clearance.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, politicians and businessmen have faced wide-ranging sanctions in the wake of the invasion, while European countries have seized property including villas and boats.

Commissioner of Police, Brigadier General Sitivini Qiliho, told the Fiji Sun newspaper the attorney-general’s office had been contacted by a foreign government requesting assistance in a criminal matter, and Fiji had agreements with other countries to enforce sanctions on Russian oligarchs.

The European Union delegations in Fiji had also requested co-operation, the Fiji Times reported.

Fiji had been alerted to the approach of the Amadea before it moored at Lautoka Wharf, the media reported.

An official in Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum’s office declined to comment, saying it was an internal matter for the Fiji government.

The Marine Traffic website showed Amadea left Mexico 18 days ago.

File source

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