Fiji police question captain of Russian superyacht

Fiji police question captain of Russian superyacht

The Fijian police have questioned the captain of a luxury superyacht owned by a Russian oligarch after the boat arrived in the Pacific island nation without customs clearance.

Fiji newspapers reported that police had seized the superyacht Amadea, owned by Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, and detained its crew.

Kerimov has been sanctioned by the United States, Britain and the European Union over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

An official at the National Police Command and Control CentrePolice Command and Control Centre confirmed that the captain of the vessel, which arrived on Tuesday, was being questioned about how it came to Fiji without customs clearance.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, politicians and businessmen have faced wide-ranging sanctions after Russia invaded Ukraine, with European countries seizing property such as villas and boats.

The US embassy said it was aware that the Amadea had docked in Fiji's Lautoka port and that it was cooperating with Fijian authorities on the matter.

The United States is committed to finding and seizing the assets of the oligarchs who supported the Russian Federation's brutal, unprovoked war of choice against Ukraine, the embassy said in a statement.

Many of our EU partners have already frozen or seized many of the assets of these oligarchs.

We are working closely with governments and private sector partners in Europe, and the whole world, including Fiji, on this issue. The Attorney-General's office had been contacted by a foreign government asking for assistance in a criminal matter, and Fiji had agreements with other countries to enforce sanctions on Russian oligarchs, according to a commissioner of police, Brigadier General Sitivini Qiliho.

The Fiji Times reported that the European Union delegations in Fiji had also requested cooperation.

Fiji had been alerted to the approaching approach of the Amadea before it moored at Lautoka Wharf, local media reported.

An official in Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum's office declined to comment, saying it was an internal matter for the Fiji government.