The U.S. Justice Department has accused Russian businessman Vladislav Osipov and British businessman Richard Masters of trying to shield billionaire Viktor Vekselberg’s 78-meter Tango yacht from sanctions. This is stated in the statement of the Ministry of Justice. The oligarch’s ship is valued at $90 million.
Masters, 52, has already been detained at the request of the FBI in Spain, he should soon be extradited to the United States. An arrest warrant has been issued against 51-year-old Osipov.
According to the indictment, Osipov and Masters used American companies and the US financial system to hide the ownership of the yacht by sanctioned Vekselberg.
Russian businessman Osipov is named by the Ministry of Justice as a Vekselberg employee who developed a complex shell company ownership structure to hide Vekselberg’s ownership of the yacht.
After the billionaire was hit by US sanctions in 2018, British entrepreneur Masters’ yacht management company took over Tango. She tried to hide from US financial institutions the fact that hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on servicing Tango, according to the US Department of Justice. For this, the dummy name of the yacht Fanta was used, among other things, the agency established.
“Those who help circumvent sanctions allow oligarchs who support Vladimir Putin’s regime to flout US law. The United States will not allow its financial institutions and individuals to be manipulated or deceived to benefit those who support an illegal war,” U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves said in the District of Columbia.
The US Treasury decided to block Vekselberg’s yacht in March 2022 as part of the new sanctions that the States imposed against Russian oligarchs after the start of the war in Ukraine. This meant that the American authorities prohibited the use of American companies to maintain the yacht, as well as the employment of US citizens to work on it, and even the use of US dollars for these purposes.
The Tango yacht was arrested in April by the Spanish Civil Guard at the request of the FBI.