A $334 million superyacht belonging to one of Russia's richest oligarchs is headed towards Australia, with the 106-metre vessel set to arrive in Nadi, Fiji, as early as next week.
The mega yacht named Amadea is owned by Suleiman Kerimov, a Russian billionaire who is currently sanctioned by the US, UK and Europe amidst Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The sanctions are allegedly for money laundering and his ties to the Russian government, with US sanctions in place since 2018.
According to marine analytics provider, Marine Traffic, the luxury yacht left Manzanillo Port in Mexico on March 24, supposedly to refuel, before sailing southwest towards the Pacific.
The vessel includes a pool, gym, sauna and spa, gardens and even a stage for live events. Scroll down to read more about its grand design.
New Zealand journalist Michael Field suggests the Russian billionaire could be "making a trans-Pacific run for Vladivostok, Russia’s Pacific waters port," like many other Russian-owned yachts have supposedly done. He said the oligarch is travelling a more southern route to avoid traditional ports.
"A more northern route to Vladivostok would involve US ports in Hawaii and Guam. American Samoa would not be an option either," he said in response to the analytics.
Russian oligarch's attempt to evade sanctions
It's believed that Russian oligarchs like Mr Kerimov are using the Pacific as a way back to their homeland since sanctions in place by the west prohibit them from using usual ports around Europe and the US.
According to Mr Field, there is no word from the Fiji Government on whether they will allow the vessel into port, or whether it will be seized on docking, as other countries, like those in Europe and the UK, have done.
This week, Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, who is closely associated with Russian President Vladimir Putin, had his yacht seized by Spanish authorities.
The yacht, named Tango, is a 254-foot vessel valued at an estimated $160 million and was located at the Marina Real in the port of Palma de Mallorca, according to the Associated Press.
"Corrupt Russian oligarchs cannot evade sanctions to live a life of luxury as innocent Ukrainians are suffering," Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco from the Department of Justice (DOJ) reportedly said in a statement.
Last month, CNBC reported that several superyachts owned by Russian billionaires were headed towards the Maldives and Montenegro in a bid to evade sanctions.
The Maldives so far has been acting as a "safe haven" for oligarchs, according to Reuters, as the Maldives doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the US.
Inside the luxury Amadea superyacht
The Amadea superyacht was built in 2017 and has a large pool, a Jacuzzi, and a helicopter landing platform.
The luxury yacht can accommodate 16 guests across eight cabins, and there's said to be an amazing winter garden on the sun deck.
In addition to a spacious owner’s cabin, there's also a VIP cabin, a cabin with twin beds, as well as five other double cabins aboard the mega yacht, according to Yacht Bible.
There's also a fully equipped gym, a luxurious spa area including a sauna and a large conservatory with a stage for live bands and seating for up to 22 people.
Amadea is currently sailing under the flag of the Cayman Islands and has a crew of 36, with enough accommodation on board for them all.
With a displacement of 4,402 tons, Amadea is one of the larger yachts in the world, according to a Super yacht fan website, and is listed as the 63rd largest worldwide.
The stunning 18th-century style interior was designed by Zuretti Design, which specialises in unique, custom interior designs for luxury yachts
It's believed Mr Kerimov purchased the Amadea superyacht in 2019 for around US $250 million (A$334,314,000).
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