A yacht linked to a Russian aluminium tycoon arrived in a bay near the southwestern Turkish resort of Gocek on Saturday, as more Russian billionaires head for Turkey to flee Western sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Oleg Deripaska, founder of Russian aluminium giant Rusal, has been sanctioned by the United States, United Kingdom and European Union.
A witness saw the 73-metre (239.5 feet) yacht Clio arrive off the coast of Gocek in the Aegean coastal province of Mugla. The Cayman Islands-flagged vessel remains in the bay off Gocek.
The arrival of the Clio in Turkish waters came after two super-yachts linked to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who made a surprise appearance at Ukraine-Russia peace talks in Istanbul this month, docked in Turkish ports.
Turkey, a member of NATO, shares a maritime border with Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea, and has good ties with both and has mediated in the continuing conflict.
Istanbul has supported Kyiv, but also opposed sanctions on Moscow, including measures against Russian billionaires.
Ankara has relied heavily on Russian energy imports and tourists and has emerged as a safe haven for Russians fleeing sanctions, and many have invested in Turkish property.
On April 4, the US government seized a mega-yacht in Spain, the first in Washington’s sanctions enforcement initiative to “seize and freeze” giant boats and other pricey assets of Russian elites.
Spain’s Civil Guard and US federal agents descended on the yacht, Tango, at the Marina Real in the port of Palma de Mallorca, the capital of Spain’s Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea.
Documents tied to the US investigation alleged that oligarch Viktor Vekselberg bought the Tango in 2011 and used shell companies to hide his interest in the vessel, the US Department of Justice said.
In early March, customs officers in France seized a yacht belonging to Rosneft oil company boss Igor Sechin as it tried to leave the Mediterranean port of La Ciotat in a breach of EU sanctions on Russian oligarchs.