(NewsNation) — As the U.S. and Europe begin to busily seize the luxury property owned by Russian oligarchs, scrutiny has fallen upon a watercraft that’s one of the biggest, a super yacht reputed to be owned by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.
The yacht is currently docked in Italy, and NewsNation’s Keleigh Beeson reported on “Morning in America” that it’s believed Putin has direct control of the ship through several shell companies.
The yacht, named Scheherazade, is 459 feet long and weighs 9,000 tons, according to SuperYacht Fan. It can cruise at a fairly plodding 19 knots, and has room for a crew of 40 and 18 guests. It was completed in 2020 at an estimated cost of $700 million. It costs $50-$75 million per year to operate, which should make you feel better about how much it costs to get your annual car services. It also has a helipad and technology aboard to disable approaching drones.
U.S. officials say Putin funnels all his money through oligarchs, Russian billionaires with political ties. But now the U.S. has launched Operation REPO (Russian elites, proxies & oligarchs) intended to deprive the Russian upper crust of its expensive toys and homes, as well as freeze their assets held in banks.
REPO will also have a worldwide reach, sharing intelligence with other countries to track down oligarch assets and seize them wherever they hide.
The captain of the Scheherazade says that Putin is not the owner, and that in fact the Russian leader has never even been aboard the yacht. He won’t, however, say who the owner is.