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Abramovich moors $1.3 billion superyachts in Turkey to avoid sanctions – Ahval

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« Two superyachts belonging to sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich have arrived in Turkey » reports Ahval News.

Abramovich’s $700 million yacht, the Eclipse, which at 160 metres was the world’s longest private yacht when delivered in 2010, is now moored in the Mediterranean resort of Marmaris, ship tracking data showed. A second yacht, the $600 million My Solaris, arrived in the holiday town of Bodrum on Monday from Montenegro. It was formerly in Spain.

Abramovich, famous in part for his ownership of London football club Chelsea, is seeking to move his assets out of Europe to friendlier nations after EU member states sanctioned him and several other Russian billionaires due to the war in Ukraine.

NATO member Turkey, which has developed close relations with Russia in recent years, has declined to implement any sanctions against Russia or the oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin. European countries including Italy and France have seized yachts, private jets, and other assets from several sanctioned oligarchs.

Eclipse, with a crew of 70, features two helicopter pads, two swimming pools, several hot tubs, a mini submarine and a high-tech self-defence system. The 138 metre Solaris, built in 2021, has eight decks, a helipad, a swimming pool, a spacious sun lounge, bulletproof windows and a fully armoured aluminium hull. It has a crew of up to 60.

The 55-year-old Abramovich, whose net worth is estimated at about $13.6 billion, according to Bloomberg, was earlier this month sanctioned by the United Kingdom and the European Union. The move bars Abramovich from doing business there as part of measures against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine that began on Feb. 24.

Bodrum, located on Turkey’s southwestern tip, is one of the country’s main resort towns and is frequented by British and European tourists. Marmaris is also a favoured spot for British, German and other European tourists.

A business jet owned by Abramovich landed in Istanbul on Monday of last week, according to Flightradar24 data. The businessman had been seen at the VIP lounge of Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport shortly before the plane took off. It later flew on to Moscow.

Some analysts are concerned that Russia may be using Turkey, its territory and financial system to get around Western sanctions.

“The West needs a clear-eyed approach to Turkey if it is going to succeed in cutting off Russia from financial flows, markets and trade,” Tim Ash, senior emerging markets strategist at BlueBay Asset Management in London, said in e-mailed comments last week. “It is pretty clear that Russia will, and indeed is, using Turkey.”

Turkish banks have tightened up their procedures for gaining funds or clients from Russia, Reuters reported last week citing unidentified bankers.

Ahval News, March 21, 2022

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