Mystery superyacht 'belonging to Putin' still docked in Italy after raising suspicion

The Scheherazade yacht is still docked at Marina di Carrara’s port, Italy, almost a year ago after it was docked due to suspicions it belonged to Vladimir Putin. The 140 metres long superyacht worth $700million is run by British captain Guy Bennett-Pearce. The British captain denied Putin owns the yacht but refused to disclose the real owner claiming it comes under a non-disclosure agreement he signed before taking the job.

He did not rule out the owner could be Russian but claimed the yacht does not belong to anyone currently subject to sanctions.

Workers in the shipyard have long speculated the yacht belongs to Putin. One source told the Daily Mail: “All the whispers were it belonged to Putin.”

Dr Luca Perfetti, director of the Ligure Sea authorities told that the yacht is indeed still in Marina di Carrara.

He could not confirm whether the supership was still under investigation.

He said: “It’s still here but I cannot confirm whether it’s now just a case of special maintenance or if it is still under administrative detention.

“But it’s definitely still here, I can see it very clearly from where I am right now.”

Back in March 2022, Aleksey Navalny’s investigative group raised the alarm to the Italian authorities, releasing the yacht’s crew list.

The list contained 23 names, dates of birth and details of their passports.

The document was compiled in Carrara on December 17, 2020, and it made possible to trace their travels and their affiliation.

The crew is entirely Russian with the exception of the British captain.

According to captain Bennett-Pearce, Italian authorities examined some of the ship’s certification documents last year giving him “no choice”.

Western leaders have been confiscating Russian oligarch’s assets since the beginning of the Ukrainian invasion in February 2022.

A Russian arms dealer, his son, a group of front companies across Asia, Europe and the Middle East and their leadership have been targeted for US sanctions this week.

Russian arms dealer Igor Zimenkov, his son and companies connected to “the Zimenkov network” in Singapore, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Israel, among other countries, were identified by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control for financial penalties.

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Roughly 22 people and organisations related to a sanctions evasion network supporting Russia’s military-industrial complex were named in Wednesday’s news release.

The administration uses an April 2021 executive order as its authority to impose the financial penalties, and took the actions in concert with the Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs Task Force, a multi-agency group that works with other countries to investigate and prosecute oligarchs and others allied with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Treasury’s Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo said in a Wednesday statement: “Russia’s desperate attempts to utilize proxies to circumvent U.S. sanctions demonstrate that sanctions have made it much harder and costlier for Russia’s military-industrial complex to resupply Putin’s war machine.”

Treasury says over the last year, OFAC has sanctioned more than 100 people and entities engaging in activity to circumvent international sanctions and export controls imposed on Russia.

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“Targeting proxies is one of many steps that Treasury and our coalition of partners have taken, and continue to take, to tighten sanctions enforcement against Russia’s defence sector, its benefactors, and its supporters,” Adeyemo said.

As the one-year anniversary of Moscow’s invasion approaches, Russia is mustering its military might in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine, local officials say, in what Kyiv suspects is preparation for an offensive in coming weeks.

Ukraine is hoping to secure more Western military aid as it tries to fend off the much larger Russian forces. It already has won pledges of advanced battle tanks from the US, Germany, Britain and other European countries.