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France Seizes Superyacht Linked to Sanctioned Russian Oligarch

On Feb. 28, the European Union published a list of Russian oligarchs who will face sanctions in response to the conflict.

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As Russia's attack on Ukraine enters its seventh day, the international community continues to respond to the Russian government and its associates with sanctions. Now, French authorities have seized a superyacht they say is tied to Russian oligarch Igor Sechin, the former deputy prime minister of Russia and current CEO of Russian state oil company Rosneft. 

France’s finance minister Bruno Le Maire announced the seizure via tweet on Thursday. “Thanks to the French customs officers who are enforcing the European Union’s sanctions against those close to the Russian government," he said in a translation provided by Reuters. 

According to a translation of the letter included with the tweet, French authorities seized the 280-foot Amore Velo yacht on March 2 in La Ciotat shipyards, on the southern coast of France, following a check that took several hours. The letter also stated that the yacht, which had arrived in La Ciotat on January 3 of this year, was due to remain there until April 1 for repairs. However, it was readying for cast-off when authorities initiated their check — a violation of a customs code, because it would breach planned economic and financial restrictions. 

Related: 3 Defense Stocks to Consider During the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

On Feb. 28, the European Union published a list of Russian oligarchs who will face sanctions in response to the conflict. The list included Sechin as well as Russian billionaire business-magnate Alsiher Usmanov, reportedly one of Putin's "favorite" oligarchs. Usmanov's own 512-foot yacht Dilbar, valued at $600 million, was seized by German authorities on Wednesday in Hamburg's shipyards, per Forbes

The European Union's sanctions document also includes details about Rosneft Aero's delivery of jet fuel to the Simferopol Airport, which supports flight connections between the annexed territory of Crimea, its largest city Sevastopol, and Russia. “Therefore he is supporting the consolidation of the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula into the Russian Federation, which in turn further undermines the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine,” the document said. 

Related: Oil Stocks to Watch as Russia-Ukraine Conflict Escalates

CNBC reports that some of Russia's wealthiest citizens are relocating their yachts towards Montenegro and the Maldives in an attempt to avoid seizure.  

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