Superyacht linked to sanctioned Russian billionaire on sale for $41m

4The proposed sale was disclosed in an advertisement e-mailed from the brokerage firm to undisclosed recipients on Sept 14. PHOTO: REUTERS

FORT LAUDERDALE - A US-based luxury yacht broker is advertising for sale a 51m superyacht linked to sanctioned Russian billionaire Igor Kesaev for 29.5 million euros (S$41.5 million), according to an e-mail seen by Reuters.

The proposed sale of the MySky yacht, which was disclosed in an advertisement e-mailed from the brokerage firm to undisclosed recipients on Sept 14, comes amid concerns from Western governments and campaigners that billionaires like Mr Kesaev have been able to work around a patchwork of international sanctions targeting their luxury assets such as yachts.

The European Union and Britain sanctioned Mr Kesaev in April in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with the EU citing his involvement in military weapons production and tobacco distribution in Russia, as well as links to the Russian government "and its security forces".

The United States has not sanctioned Mr Kesaev, and the US Treasury did not respond to requests for comment.

Ms Sara Gioanola, a spokesperson for Heesen Yachts, the Netherlands-based firm that built MySky, confirmed that Mr Kesaev commissioned it and another yacht, called Sky. MySky was completed in 2014.

An article about Mr Kesaev's daughter and her art gallery in the spring 2021 edition of Heesen's magazine noted that "the Kesaev family is well known to Heesen, having commissioned Sky and MySky over the past decade".

Reuters was unable to independently confirm whether Mr Kesaev has direct ownership in MySky.

Burgess, a yacht brokerage with offices in London, Monaco and other major markets, sent a statement after publication of this article saying Mr Kesaev "is not the beneficial owner of MySky", and that it "does not have any commercial relationship with him".

MySky features "ultra-modern sophisticated interiors" by a well-known Dutch architect, an "indoor climate-controlled gymnasium" and a deck that can be used for landing helicopters.

Ms Clara Portela, a sanctions expert at the University of Valencia, said because there are no US sanctions on Mr Kesaev, American businesses or buyers could be involved in the yacht sale without running afoul of sanctions.

Yachts linked to sanctioned Russians have appeared in destinations such as the Maldives and Turkey in recent months, as the authorities in the US, EU and Britain levied sanctions and sought to seize such assets. REUTERS

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