julho 13, 2024

After several months, the sun seems to partially shining on Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov. A Frankfurt court declared that recent searches on the billionaire’s $700 million Dilbar yacht were illegal. The official even stated investigators should not have searched the yacht and villas of the Russian entrepreneur Alisher Usmanov on suspicion of money laundering. In April 2022, Germany seized the world’s largest superyachts (by volume) in the port of Hamburg. Authorities swooped in to impound the ship when it was moored at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg, undergoing refits.

Dilbar at the Blohm and Voss in shipyard after it was seized – Image – Twitter / @Tobias_Gudat

The goliath was later towed out of Hamburg and into Bremen. It was here that officers from the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and the tax investigators searched several villas on Lake Tegernsee, an apartment near Frankfurt am Main and the Dilbar in the port of Bremen. Seizing the mammoth asset was easy; the more significant task was to maintain a vessel this large. The German taxpayer has paid around $70,000 daily to preserve the Russian oligarch’s yacht.

Image – Lurssen

Despite all the efforts of the BKA, the court has now found that there was no initial suspicion of money laundering for the searches at Usmanov’s premises, along with severe deficiencies in the search warrants requested by the Frankfurt Public Prosecutor’s Office. It may be a small win for tycoon Alisher Usmanov but definitely a win. The metal magnate worth $18.4 billion tried every page in the book to save his yacht and then free her.

Alisher Usmanov

The 69-year-old mining mogul didn’t shy away from pleading with the EU to release sanctions on his beloved boat. With mounting bills on the German government to maintain the 512-foot Dilbar and the court declaring no evident suspicions, Usmanov may come guns blazing for his megayacht. The lawyers who represented the Uzbekistan embassy(Usmanov is an Uzbek by nationality) in Germany were also expecting the German govt to pay for damages from the raids. Will the government comply this time? Only time will tell.

Alisher Usmanov’s Bavarian villa. Image – OCCRP

250 officers had raided Alisher Usmanov’s Bavarian villa-
A special unit of more than 250 German police officers raided the oligarch’s properties in Southern Bavaria in October 2022, out of several properties raided in Baden-Württemberg, Hamburg, and Schleswig-Holsteinone. A lavish villa at Tegernsee Lake in the southern state of Bavaria was raised, and it was at this address where officers discovered four Faberge eggs locked in a safe.

The raids, now deemed illegal, were believed to have targeted the early Facebook investor for his complex web of companies and corporations to conceal the origins of transactions between 2017 and 2022. Around the same time, 60 officials from the Federal Criminal Police Office and tax authorities swooped in on the 500-feet long vessel.

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