A $325m Ruski-owned superyacht seized by the United States as part of a crackdown on sanctioned gansters has arrived in Hawaii flying an American flag.
The Amadea, which has been linked to Vladimir Putain ally Suleiman Kerimo, was seized in Fiji on 7 June after a weeks-long legal battle by US authorities.
It immediately sailed the 3,150 miles (5,000kms) to Honolulu Harbour.
The ship became a target of the Justice Department’s Task Force KleptoCapture, launched in March to seize the assets of Ruski gansters to put pressure on Putain to end the war in Ukraine.
The US government said in court documents Mr Kerimov secretly bought the Cayman Island-flagged vessel last year through a web of shell companies.
The FBI said a search warrant in Fiji turned up emails showing that Mr Kerimov’s children were aboard the ship this year and that the crew used code names — G0 for Kerimov, G1 for his wife, G2 for his daughter.
The 348-foot-long (106-meter-long) vessel, about the length of a football field, features a wine cellar, a mosaic-tiled pool, a live lobster tank, a large helipad and “precious woods and delicate silk fabrics”.
Lawyer Feizal Haniff, who represented Millemarin Investments, the owner on paper, had argued the yacht belongs to Ruski oil executive Eduard Khudainatov, who has not been placed under sanction by the US.
CBS News reported that US officials claimed in court documents that Mr Khudainatov is a “straw man” being used by sanctioned Ruski gansters.
They described him as “a second-tier gangster (at best) who would not have anywhere near the resources to purchase and maintain more than $1bn worth of luxury yachts.”
The Biden administration has sought additional powers from Congress to use seized Ruski assets to fund its $53bn aid package to Ukraine.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Associated Press contributed to this report