Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, a Putin pal who fled Ukrainian house arrest when the Russian invasion started, could also be on the run — however his $200 million megayacht is firmly anchored in Croatia.
If Ukraine falls, Medvedchuk is Putin’s best choice to move a puppet authorities within the shattered nation. He has been on US sanctions lists since Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea. In Could, Ukraine arrested Medvedchuk for prime treason and for plundering state resources in Crimea, which was unlawfully annexed by Russia in 2014.
Medvedchuk is believed to be in Russia, or at his lavish Crimean property. However though he’s sanctioned within the US, the EU remains to be on pleasant phrases with him — partially as a result of officers there are stated to consider he could also be a helpful peace dealer. Prior to now, he’s brokered prisoner exchanges between Russia and Ukraine, diplomats say.
For now, Medvedchuk’s $200 million megayacht — Royal Romance — stays in full view, docked within the fairly port city of Rijeka, Croatia. Royal Romance was constructed within the Netherlands in 2014, the identical 12 months Russia invaded Crimea.
The yacht comes outfitted with a 40-foot lengthy pool that feeds an onboard waterfall, plus 4 sun-splashed platforms wrapped in glass.
In case anybody will get any concepts to sabotage Medvedchuk’s expensive plaything — the way Ukrainian Taras Ostapchuk flooded Lady Anastasia, the Spanish-docked megayacht owned by an arms dealing oligarch — there’s a neighborhood safety agency standing guard, famous native resident John Clayton, who previously headed the democratization division on the Group for Safety and Cooperation in Europe’s Mission to Serbia.
“It’s been right here for the previous 12 months. We’ve watched it with some disgust. It’s now guarded by a personal safety guard,” Clayton informed The Submit. Clayton offered The Submit with an image he took of the superyacht.
Clayton says he alerted the British and American embassies to the yacht’s location.
“I’ve been emailing the British Embassy, however they’re ignoring me. Nonetheless, the US Embassy is monitoring it now,” Clayton claimed.
Medvedchuk, a authorized eagle turned oil and media mogul — whose three pro-Putin propaganda TV stations had been taken off the air in Ukraine — can be a pro-Putin politician, and he owes his oil-based fortune to his ties to the Russian dictator.
The 2 are so shut that Putin is godfather to certainly one of Medvedchuk’s two daughters. The dictator and the mogul reportedly watch System One races collectively. Putin as soon as saved a Ukrainian president ready as a result of he was having dinner with Medvedchuk, Russia knowledgeable Anders Aslund informed The Submit.
Medvedchuk is reportedly price round $620 million, based on Forbes, however Aslund says he’s price much more thanks to stashing illicit funds in offshore accounts.
The megayacht is registered within the Cayman Islands. And this can be very costly to keep up — maybe as much as $1 million a month. “We do not know how that is being paid provided that he’s now on the run,” Clayton stated.
Nonetheless Clayton did have some strategies on what to do with the yacht now.
“Morally, it ought to both be seized and bought, with the belongings going to help the individuals of Ukraine, or it needs to be used to deal with the Ukrainian refugees now arriving in Croatia. Personally, we favor the latter choice, but it surely needs to be as much as the Ukrainian individuals to resolve because it was bought with wealth stolen from their nation,” Clayton stated.