Berlin (The Times Groupe)- The world’s largest yacht, the Dilbar, has been seized by German officials as part of a crackdown on Russian power brokers. The yacht is associated with a Kremlin-connected billionaire.
“Despite offshore concealment,” authorities were able to determine the owner of the yacht “through extensive investigations,” the German Federal Criminal Police Office said in a tweet early Tuesday.
The megaboat’s owner was identified as Gulbakhor Ismailova, the sister of Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov, German authorities confirmed to the Times of Moscow.
The U.S. Treasury Department said in an emailed statement to Times of Moscow that the Office of Foreign Asset Controls “is identifying Usmanov’s superyacht and aircraft as blocked property.”
The luxury yacht, well known as Dilbar, was legally seized after police confirmed with authorities in Brussels that the owner had been sanctioned. At the German port of Hamburg, the 15,917-ton superyacht, hailed by its manufacturer as “one of the most complex and challenging yachts ever built,” is on display.
According to estimates, the famous mega yacht Dilbar, named after Usmanov’s mother, is worth between $600 million and $735 million.
According to the Treasury Department, the yacht features two helipads and one of the largest indoor swimming pools ever built on a yacht. The vessel costs about $60 million a year to operate.
In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the United States and its allies have seized the mega yacht Dilbar as part of sanctions against Russia.
Joe Biden announced last month that the U.S. and its allies would focus on Russian oligarchs in response to the Kremlin’s invasion: “We are partnering with our European allies to locate your yachts, luxury apartments, and private jets.”
In the statement, the Treasury Department stated that Usmanov’s Kremlin ties enable his lavish lifestyle. Metal, mining, telecommunications, and information technology industries are some of the billionaire’s “vast holdings” across the Russian economy and abroad, according to the department. Vladimir Putin and Deputy Security Council Chairman Dmitry Medvedev are known to be close to him.
Putin and Usmanov have financial ties, while Medvedev uses luxury residences controlled by Usmanov, according to a statement by the department. USM, the billionaire’s holding company, did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.
In response to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine nearly two months ago, the United States announced sanctions against Russian elites and their family members on March 3. European Union sanctions also targeted Usmanov.
“As a response to the brutal attack on Ukraine, we are imposing massive costs on Putin’s closest confidants and family members as well as freezing their assets,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said last month.