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France seizes mega-yacht linked to Putin ally

Douane Francaise via Associated Press

France seized a mega-yacht linked to an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday as the western world seeks to punish the Kremlin and its allies amid its invasion of Ukraine. 

The yacht belonging to Igor Sechin, a top Putin ally and head of state oil firm Rosneft, was impounded in accordance with sanctions placed against a number of Russian oligarchs and officials, Bloomberg reported

The yacht, the Amore Vero, arrived in La Ciotat on Jan. 3 and was supposed to remain there until April 4 for repairs, according to the French Finance Ministry. 

“At the moment the inspection was carried out, the boat was readying to weigh anchor urgently, without having finished the planned work,” the Finance Ministry said.

The yacht is owned by a company whose main shareholder is Sechin, the ministry said, according to Bloomberg. 

The EU and U.S. have placed sanctions on high-profile individuals in Russia, including wealthy oligarchs, in an attempt to deter Putin from continuing his attack on Ukraine.

Germany also seized a $600 million yacht belonging to Russian metal tycoon Alisher Usmanov on Wednesday, according to Forbes

American officials are reportedly preparing to expand sanctions against Russian oligarchs in efforts to ramp up pressure on Russia as its invasion of Ukraine enters its second week. 

The new list could include a number of officials and oligarchs sanctioned by the European Union on Monday. 

Usmanov is among the oligarchs expected to be on the expanded list. Others on the E.U. sanctions list who are yet to be hit by the U.S. include Nikolay Tokarev, the head of energy giant Transneft and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Tags Russia Russian oligarch Vladimir Putin
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