One of the world’s largest and most expensive yachts named the Scheherazade is now docked in Italy and rumored to belong to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
As the yachts of Russian oligarchs are being seized across southern Europe, Italy is under pressure to do the same with the Scheherazade and other Russian-owned assets
“You shouldn't be a resort for killers," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. "You should block all their estates, bank accounts and yachts, from ‘Scheherazade’ to smaller yachts.”
Only one problem: No one knows for certain who owns the $700 million yacht, though evidence is growing that it is linked to Putin.
Earlier this week, the foundation of jailed dissident Alexei Navalny presented video evidence that many crew members work for FSO — the Russian agency in charge of Putin’s protection. Their evidence is based on a 2020 crew manifest the foundation obtained.
“Half of them are related to the FSO," Navalny said. "I can’t think of a better proof that this yacht belongs to Putin.”
The New York Times is also on the case. A former crew member told the paper that the yacht has been used by Putin.
The Times also reports that the Russian crew abruptly left the vessel, which is undergoing repairs, and skipped town a couple weeks ago.
American and Italian authorities are currently investigating the matter as pressure grows to seize assets linked to the Kremlin.
The AP estimates there are 56 superyachts owned by Kremlin-aligned oligarchs floating around the world, worth more than $5.4 billion.
Meanwhile, a yacht belonging to billionaire Roman Abramovich arrived in Turkey this week, beyond the reach of E.U. officials. It was not welcomed warmly.