The Spanish government has taken control of a yacht linked to the top executive of a major Russian defense conglomerate, as authorities around Europe step up their campaign against sanctioned tycoons linked to President Vladimir Putin.
The country immobilised the 85 meter (278.87 feet)-long Valerie, a vessel valued at about 140 million euros ($154 million), Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in an interview with TV broadcaster La Sexta, without disclosing the identity of its owner. Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that the ship is linked to Rostec State Corporation’s Chief Executive Officer Sergey Chemezov, citing a Spanish merchant navy document.
A spokesperson for Rostec didn’t reply to an email, an instant message and a phone call from Bloomberg News. Nobody was immediately available for comment at the Spanish merchant navy.
The Spanish move follows a series of similar actions by other European countries after EU authorities placed several Russian billionaires and businessman on a sanctions list this month, preventing them from moving their assets.
The Amore Vero, a yacht belonging to oil giant Rosneft PJSC Chief Executive Officer Igor Sechin, was blocked from leaving the Cote D’Azur coast by French customs officials on March 3, while Italian authorities seized billionaire Andrey Melnichenko’s 530 million-euro sailing yacht last weekend.
In Monday’s announcement, Sanchez said that the boat has been “temporarily immobilized” and that other assets connected to oligarchs would also be seized. Barcelona is one of Europe’s largest ports and a favorite for owners of large yachts that use it as a base to sail the Mediterranean.
Chemezov, 69, was already sanctioned in September 2014, as part of a wave of U.S. and European sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Crimea. According to European Union data, Chemezov is a long-time associate of Putin, from the time when both men served as KGB officials in Germany.