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(Bloomberg) – After not broadcasting its location for nearly two weeks, a $150million luxury superyacht linked to sanctioned Russian billionaire Leonid Mikhelson has reappeared – transmitting that it was heading for the Bahamas and Barcelona – locations which would have put him in danger of seizure.

It turns out that his final destination is a haven sought by many other ships of sanctioned tycoons: Turkey.

After a nearly month-long voyage that cost her more than 7,000 miles, the Pacific docked at the port of Marmaris in the south of the country on Thursday.

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The voyage of the 280ft Pacific, sailing ‘in the dark’ for nearly half the voyage without its automatic identification system activated as required by international maritime law, shows the risky actions the crew of these multi-million dollar vessels set out to travel to jurisdictions deemed unlikely to arrest the floating palaces. The United States, Italy and other European governments have seized more than a dozen yachts worth more than $2.3 billion to punish Russian tycoons close to President Vladimir Putin for the invasion from Ukraine.

Follow the Pacific voyage here.

Turkey has been a favored destination for superyachts linked to Russian oligarchs and tycoons coming under scrutiny as countries seek to tighten sanctions on Russia. Steel billionaire Alexander Abramov’s $100 million Titan crossed the Suez Canal in early May on its way there. The Eclipse, linked to former Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich, is in southern Turkish waters, while My Solaris, another megayacht linked to her, is anchored off the southwest coast of the country. The Clio, linked to aluminum billionaire Oleg Deripaska, stopped transmitting its location once it reached the Bosphorus Strait near Istanbul in April.

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The seizures sent luxury ships scattering across the oceans in search of refuge. Some have traveled more than 5,000 nautical miles since the invasion began in late February. Working with Spire Global Inc., an analytics firm that uses nanosatellites to collect data, Bloomberg tracks vessels connected to Russian tycoons on sanctions lists.

Interact with a yacht tracker linked to sanctioned Russians here.

Built in 2010 by the German company Luerssen Verwaltungs GmbH, the Pacific has an elevator, a swimming pool and a smaller speedboat, and can accommodate 12 people and 28 crew members.

Watch a video of the Pacific here.

The Pacific, which can accommodate two helicopters, had been anchored in various ports and bays in Costa Rica since late January. On May 5, it left Marina Papagayo near Culebra Bay and headed southeast, passing through the Panama Canal, according to ship data analyzed by Bloomberg. The ship was sailing in the Caribbean Sea northeast of Colon when it stopped broadcasting its position on May 8. He had indicated that he was heading for Nassau in the Bahamas. He reappeared 12 days later near the Canary Islands, said he was heading for Barcelona before changing his destination to Port Said in Egypt.

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Along with economic and financial sanctions, the seizure of superyachts, villas and other assets of Russian tycoons close to Putin has become a visible campaign by the United States and its allies to try to deter Russia’s war in Ukraine. In Fiji, the United States obtained an attachment order in early May on Amadea’s $325 million it says belongs to sanctioned Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, but authorities have so far been undecided. able to get him out of the South Pacific island nation. The yacht’s registered owner has launched a series of legal challenges to fight the seizure.

“These yachts are a source of pride and prestige for owners,” said Benjamin Maltby, a London-based partner at Keystone Law who specializes in superyacht law. “There’s absolutely no way they’re giving them away or voluntarily leaving.”

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Mikhelson, Russia’s second richest person with a fortune of nearly $25 billion, was sanctioned by the UK and Canada in early April. He is Managing Director of Novatek PJSC, Russia’s largest non-public natural gas supplier. Novatek is also on the US sanctions list, although Mikhelson himself does not face US sanctions. The multi-billionaire owns around a quarter of the listed company, which produces around 10% of the country’s gas.

It is not known if Mikhelson is aboard the Pacific. Its representatives at Novatek did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

©2022 Bloomberg LP



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