Almost a year after seizing the oligarch's luxury superyacht, he is once again targeted by the US Department of Justice, which has seized his palatial homes in the Hamptons, New York and Miami, worth a whopping $75 million…
The Department of Justice's Operation KleptoCapture is back in action. Russian oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg is not happy with this news; after all, officials are now seizing $75 million worth of luxury real estate belonging to the owner of the captured $90 million superyacht Tango. Six luxury properties in upstate New York, the Hamptons and Florida were raided in September last year, and the Russian-Israeli-Cypriot billionaire's assets were the subject of sanctions evasion and money laundering. We learn that Vekselberg attempted to sell two properties without notifying the Office of Foreign Assets Control.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: "Today's lawsuit, filed on the anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, seeks the forfeiture of six luxury properties owned by Viktor Vekselberg that his associate Vladimir Voronchenko maintained by funnelling millions of dollars into the United States. By filing this complaint, the United States is sending a strong message to sanctions violators and money launderers that we will use all available tools to seize the proceeds of crime and use that money to help our allies in Ukraine under the new law."
Head of KleptoCapture, Andrew Adams, said: "Corrupt professionals and shell companies can be hallmarks of money laundering and sanctions evasion, but they are obstacles hard-working, dedicated investigators and prosecutors will overcome." He added that the filing is another step the DOJ and partners have taken toward removing ill-gotten gains from those who would try to evade U.S. sanctions, and toward making the value of these assets available to aid Ukraine.
Almost a year ago, the FBI seized the yacht Tango
The FBI seized the 255-foot yacht Tango in April 2022 in Palma de Mallorca, the capital of Spain's Balearic Islands, in cooperation with U.S. authorities, Homeland Security Investigations and the Spanish Civil Guard. The 255-foot Feadship was built in 2011 and is equipped with seven guest suites, a swimming pool, a beauty salon and an open-air cinema. Similar to the aforementioned properties, floating assets worth $90 million, more than all six properties combined, were seized as part of investigations into fraud, money laundering and false documents used to hide ownership of the vessel.
The seizure of the Tango superyacht marked the first seizure of assets belonging to a sanctioned individual with close ties to the Russian regime. All of Vekselberg's US assets were frozen at the start of the Russo-Ukrainian war. In addition, US companies are prohibited from doing business with him and his entities.
Victor Vekselberg, owner of the megayacht Tango, lives in Switzerland
The 65-year-old Ukrainian-born Russian billionaire has a net worth of $6.9 billion as the owner and chairman of the Renova Group. He made his first million by selling old copper from worn-out cables. The tycoon reportedly bought nine Fabergé imperial Easter eggs from the Forbes publishing family in New York in 2004. The massive $100 million purchase made him the largest owner of Fabergé eggs in the world. Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the United States sanctioned Vekselberg, seizing his assets and imposing a travel ban. Because of the sanctions, almost 1.5 billion dollars have been frozen in American and Swiss banks. The aluminium baron reportedly lives in Switzerland.