Russian oligarchs have been looking for ways to park their money outside Vladimir Putin’s control for a long time, and the tackiest method available to them is the megayacht — so obviously, there are a lot of them. It is remarkably satisfying to see the yachts get seized.
An expensive toy for worthless people, the megayacht is the epitome of conspicuous consumption. For instance, the Amore Vero, linked to Rosneft CEO Igor “Darth Vader” Sechin, has a swimming pool that converts to a helicopter platform. This boat exists only to please Sechin and impress his guests; it has a similar relationship to regular boats as handmade silk toilet paper does to Charmin.
Here is a short and delightful list of megayacht action:
- Sechin attempted to evade sanctions by ordering the Amore Vero to sail to Turkey. It was seized in France.
- Former KGB officer Sergei Chemezov, who now leads Rostec, had his 279-foot $140 million megayacht seized in Spain. “There will be more,” promised Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez. Can’t wait, babe.
- Not actually a seizure, but possibly funnier: former KGB agent Vladimir Strzhalkovsky has a yacht named Ragnar that’s stuck in Norway. Aboard Ragnar are lots of toys, such as “a BigBo amphibious ATV, heli-skiing equipment, four See-Doos, four ski scooters, six Seabobs, a multipurpose island and a giant slide.” It can’t go anywhere because no one will sell it fuel. The yacht’s captain finds this “extremely unjust,” according to NPR.
- The $735 million superyacht Dilbar, named for Kremlin-tied oligarch Alisher Usmanov’s mother, was possibly seized in Germany, depending on your definition of “seized.” (Government officials say it’s not seized per se; it just can’t leave.) It has the dubious honor of sporting the largest indoor swimming pool ever installed on a private vehicle. Here is a video of Usmanov gloating about his yacht:
- Sailing Yacht A, worth $578 million, was seized by Italy’s financial police. Its owner, sanctioned fertilizer mogul Andrey Melnichenko, told CNN through a spokesman that Melnichenko has “no political affiliations.” Yes, I’m sure he got one of the largest yachts in the world by being a normal businessman. Here is a video of the seizure:
- Italy has been quite busy, actually! Italian authorities have also seized Gennady Timchenko’s megayacht, Lena, which is worth either $8 million or $55 million, depending on who you’re asking.
- Another one on the board for Italy: the Lady M, worth at least $27 million (though the Italian government thinks it is worth more). In addition to its pool and helicopter landing pad, the Lady M also has its own salon, so no one aboard will have to suffer the indignity of doing their own hair.