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Are Oligarch assets hidden? Two charges in the United States

Two men have been indicted in the United States on suspicion of helping a sanctions-hit Russian oligarch hide ownership of his superyacht. A British man has been arrested in Spain and is to be extradited to the US, the US Department of Justice announced yesterday (local time). Another suspect with Russian and Swiss citizenship is on the run.

The duo allegedly helped billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, a close confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin, hide ownership of the $90 million Tango yacht. Vekselberg heads Russian conglomerate Renova and has been on the US sanctions list since 2018 over Russia’s annexation of the Ukrainian Crimean peninsula.

Britain, which runs a shipping company in Mallorca, is said to have renamed the yacht “Fanta” to continue working with the American outfit, although this is not allowed under US sanctions. The Justice Department said the two suspects helped ferry crews evade sanctions by making payments in foreign currencies or through middlemen. Despite efforts to cover it up, the 78-meter-long “Tango” was eventually seized in Spain last April at the request of the United States.

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