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DOJ Files $300 Million Civil Forfeiture Against Superyacht

The United States filed a civil forfeiture complaint in the Southern District of New York against the motor yacht Amadea – a 348-foot luxury vessel reportedly worth more than $300 million and beneficially owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov – which had been seized in 2022 at the request of the United States, according to a release from the Department of Justice.

According to the complaint, the Amadea is forfeitable based on violations of U.S. law, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and money laundering violations. The burden to prove forfeitability in a civil forfeiture proceeding is upon the government. Proceedings involving this property and its claimants remain ongoing.

“The United States brings this action today after a careful and painstaking effort to develop the necessary evidence showing Suleiman Kerimov’s clear interest in the Amadea and the repeated misuse of the U.S. financial system to support and maintain the yacht for his benefit,” said Michael Khoo, co-director of Task Force KleptoCapture. “Getting to this point required extensive cooperation across the U.S. government and with foreign partners. It underscores our resolve to undertake challenging, cross-border investigations and to send a message to Russian oligarchs and their enablers: if you flout the rule of law, you can expect to pay real and meaningful consequences.”

According to court documents, on April 6, 2018, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Kerimov as a Specially Designated National (SDN) under IEEPA in connection with its finding that the actions of the Government of the Russian Federation in Ukraine constituted an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. 

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