U.S. charges two businessmen for facilitating sanctions evasion for Russian oligarch's yacht

22 January, 04:01 PM
Yacht Tango (Photo:MARINETRAFFIC.COM)

Yacht Tango (Photo:MARINETRAFFIC.COM)

The U.S. Department of Justice has charged Russian businessman Vladislav Osipov and UK businessman Richard Masters with facilitating sanctions evasion relating to a yacht owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, the DoJ reported on Jan. 20.

Sanctions against Vekselberg were imposed in April 2018, with more restrictions added following the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

As a reuslt, Vekselberg’s 255-foot luxury yacht, worth $90 million, was seized in Spain.

Osipov worked as a property manager for the yacht and designed a complicated ownership scheme to hide the real owner of the luxury vessel, the Department of Justice wrote.

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Meanwhile, Masters ran a yacht management company in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, that took over the management of the vessel and conspired with other companies to evade sanctions.

Moreover, the DoJ claims that Masters defrauded U.S. financial authorities by inventing a fake name, ‘Fanta’, for the yacht.

According to the investigation, Osipov and Masters taught employees working with the yacht on how to continue to do business with U.S. companies, despite the sanctions against Vekselberg.

Masters was provisionally arrested in Spain on Jan. 20. An arrest warrant against Osipov is outstanding. 

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