Italy will sweep the spirit of Khudainatov from the Scheherazade yacht
Italy and the EU do not disclose the owner of the yacht. Rome declared the connection of “Scheherazade” with the Russian authorities. A sanctioned person can pay for the service under the standard exemption from the sanctions regime, the European Commission explained.
The Italian authorities allowed to re-equip the Scheherazade superyacht, which was arrested last year in Tuscany, worth $ 700 million, which Rome considers “associated with the Russian authorities,” writes the Financial Times.
Built in 2019, the Scheherazade superyacht is 140 meters long and 24 meters wide, according to Fleetmoon, a ship-tracking portal. VesselFinder lists Bielor Asset Ltd as the owner of the vessel. Portal SuperayachtFan estimates the ship at $700 million, adding that it was built at the German shipyard Lurssen. According to the portal, Scheherazade closes the top ten largest yachts in the world.
The repair is carried out by an Italian company registered in Milan (the name is not given in the article). They said that the owner of the yacht (the company refused to name him) paid for the work and maintenance.
Italy’s State Property Agency confirmed that, together with the country’s finance ministry, it had agreed to allow the ship’s owner to pay for “technical work,” but declined to disclose details because “information about the frozen assets is classified.” According to the FT, which turned out to have a list of assets blocked by Italy, Scheherazade is the only one on the list whose owner is not specified. She is described in the document as a superyacht valued at about €650 million, which sails under the flag of the Cayman Islands.
The Italian authorities did not name the owner of the Scheherazade. They arrested her in May 2022 in connection with the “significant economic and business relationship” of the beneficial owner of the yacht with “prominent representatives” of the Russian government, the republic’s Ministry of Economy and Finance explained in a statement.
FT sources in Rome and Brussels connect the yacht with the structures of the former president of Rosneft, Eduard Khudainatov (Bloomberg and the Italian portal Ruetir wrote about this last year). The businessman came under EU sanctions in June 2022.
The asset freeze does not affect ownership and the costs of maintaining the property can be paid by the sanctioned entity under standard exceptions, a European Commission spokesman told the publication.
Italy and the European Commission have not confirmed who is the sanctioned person in the Scheherazade case.
The New York Times, like the FT and Bloomberg, last year claimed that Khudainatov was the owner of Scheherazade. At the same time, referring to the assessment of American intelligence, the newspaper wrote that the money for the construction of the ship came from a group of investors led by Gennady Timchenko. Scheherazade, the NYT publication said, was allegedly a gift to Russian President Vladimir Putin. His press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, told the FT that “all the rumors about this are groundless.”
The captain of the Scheherazade, British citizen Guy Bennett-Pierce denied the NYT information that the Russian president appeared on the yacht. “I never saw him. I never met him,” he said.
After the start of the conflict in Ukraine and the imposition of Western sanctions, the accounts and property, including yachts and planes, of Russian businessmen who fell under restrictive measures began to be blocked. Such actions were called “robbery” in the Kremlin. “They were robbed. They were robbed in the same way that travelers were robbed in the Wild West with the help of Smith and Wesson, ”Peskov said.