Russian oligarch Andrey Melnichenko’s megayacht found hidden in UAE creek

Russian oligarch Andrey Melnichenko’s megayacht found hidden in UAE creek

Russian oligarch Andrey Melnichenko's megayacht was found hidden in a United Arab Emirates creek after a string of sanctions were imposed to punish those in Vladimir Putin's close circle.

Motor yacht A, estimated to be around $300 million, was found docked at the port of Ras al-Khaimah, flying an Emirati flag. The megayacht seems to have avoided the same fate as Melnichenko's other yacht - the Sailing Yacht A - seized in March by Italian authorities.

The Motor Yacht A was last on March 10 off the coast of the Maldives. The Associated Press reported satellite images that placed the yacht in Ras al-Khaimah's creek on March 17. The yacht's position was reported on May 30 by the Financial Times.

Melnichenko was sanctioned on March 9 and stepped down that same day from his positions at Eurochem and SUEK. He has since denied any sort of connection to the Kremlin and returned to Moscow, according to the Financial Times.

The UAE has a neutral stance on the Russia-Ukraine war and made it a hot spot for Russian oligarchs seeking to avoid western sanctions and became the ideal hiding spot for Melnichenko's megayacht. The country abstained in a U.N. Security Council vote in February condemning Russia's invasion, angering Washington.

The UAE has yet to put sanctions on Russia, in line with other Western nations. According to the BBC, visas are currently available for non-sanctioned Russians living in the country.

Dubai still views Russia as a key OPEC partner despite the fact that the war continues with Ukraine. The energy alliance with Russia was emphasized in March by the UAE energy chief Suhail Al Mazroui, as crude oil prices went past $100 a barrel.

A lot of Russian money is coming from Dubai as wealthy, non-sanctioned Russians have moved to the country due to banking and financial flexibility. They have turned to smaller financial institutions as well as cryptocurrencies and hawala. According to Forbes, there were an increase in Russian billionaires seeking luxury properties as of April.

President Biden said he would send advanced rocket systems to Ukraine as the three-month war continues to devastate the country, even though the UAE remains neutral on the matter.