Fiji court rules US can seize yacht said to belong to Russian oligarch

Fiji’s high court has ruled that the US government can seize a superyacht believed to be owned by a Russian oligarch who faces sanctions from the US and the EU, which is docked in the Fijian port of Lautoka.

Judge Deepthi Amaratunga granted the request from Fijian authorities to register and enforce US warrants to seize the Amadea, which has been docked in Lautoka since 13 April and which is believed to belong to Suleiman Kerimov, who is considered a close ally of Vladimir Putin.

The vessel with a crew of at least 25 was fined by Fijian authorities for breaching immigration regulations when it entered 斐济 in early April after an 18-day voyage from Mexico.

The defence claimed the yacht is owned by Eduard Khudainatov, who is not facing sanctions. The defence lawyer Faizal Hanif, acting for the Amadea’s registered owners Millemaria Investment Ltd, asked the court for a stay on the ruling, expressing fears that US authorities would sail the vessel out of Fiji.

The judge indicated he would grant a stay order and insist the vessel remain in Fiji during the 30-day appeal period.

Fiji has joined widespread condemnation of the Russian invasion of 乌克兰.