The Civil Guard, at the request of the FBI, have arrested British citizen Richard M., who is accused of violating sanctions imposed on Russia as a result of the war in Ukraine for helping oligarch Víktor Vekselberg build the Tango megayacht , moored next to the Club Náutico de Palma. The arrested man, who owns a well-known luxury yacht company in Palma, is accused of “fraud and money laundering” and is under investigation for maneuvers to disguise the true ownership of the €83million ship, which the Russian communications and energy tycoon’s family continues to enjoy could and the prisoner charges further. Investigators estimate that the arrested man and his company made more than 800,000 euros for the management of the yacht, which he gave under a false name in his company documents. He called it Fanta.
On March 11, the United States added to its sanctions list Russian oligarch Víktor Vekselberg, owner of the Renova Group, a conglomerate with interests in various sectors such as aluminum, energy and telecommunications. The United States sanctioned the Russian conglomerate back in April 2018, shutting down more than €1.5 billion in assets to punish the Kremlin for its alleged interference in the 2016 US election. As a result, in April the ship was seized by guards, Civilians and the FBI searched agents where documents were seized to try to clarify the ship’s true owners.
Now the US authorities are accusing Masters of fraud crimes and “violation of the law of international emergency economic powers of the United States and money laundering”, the norm by which sanctions were imposed on physical and legal persons of the Russian Federation origin. The British national, who was arrested at Barajas Airport (Madrid) and has already been released from custody as a precautionary measure, is said to have continued to operate with the Tango, knowing full well that it belonged to Vekselberg and that “a marketing ban” was imposed on him. and with US financial and trading companies”.
The FBI understands that Richard M. provided services “designed to meet the personal needs of the owner and users of the yacht with knowledge of the existence of the sanctions and prohibitions.” Even, according to the Civil Guard in a press release, “he referred to the yacht by a pseudonym so as not to arouse suspicion,” so that where Tango should have been written, it was called Fanta.
In this way, he provided services and goods to the yacht itself, its owner and its users (mainly his family) for a value of $485,149.03, according to US authorities, data reflected by the Guardia Civil. This calculates that the arrested person’s company (Master Yachts Consultancy) has earned around 800,000 euros with the management of the yacht. The National Court released Masters on Sunday, despite confiscating his passport as a precautionary measure while his extradition to the United States is resolved.
Vekselberg is an aluminum magnate and, according to Forbes magazine, the fourth richest man with 9.3 billion euros. The mega yacht Tango, worth around 83 million euros, is anchored in Palma. It is a 78 meter long ship with a capacity of 36 people including crew and guests as it has 18 cabins. It was built by the Feadship shipyards in 2011. Annual maintenance costs exceed 10 million euros and is flagged in the Cook Islands in the South Pacific between Hawaii and New Zealand. There it is registered in the name of a British Virgin Islands-based company managed by Panamanian companies, each following a complex financial and corporate conspiracy to hide the true ownership of the owner.
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