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The Amadea superyacht docked at the Queens Wharf in Lautoka, Fiji, on April 15.

The Amadea superyacht docked at the Queens Wharf in Lautoka, Fiji, on April 15.

Photographer: Leon Lord/Fiji Sun/AP Photo

‘Straw Owner’ Hides $1 Billion Worth of Russian Yachts, US Says

A US affidavit seen by Bloomberg News says a nest of offshore companies and a yacht broker helped obscure a superyacht’s true owner

In the race to seize assets tied to sanctioned Russian billionaires, US authorities are alleging that a Russian tycoon acted as the “straw owner” of two yachts worth more than $1 billion, including the $700 million Scheherazade, a superyacht linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Court filings in the South Pacific island of Fiji, where the US is trying to seize the $325 million yacht Amadea, reveal what US officials allege is a nest of offshore shell companies that were set up with the help of a yacht broker to conceal the true owners of both vessels — an allegation that lawyers for the listed owner and the broker dispute. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in Fiji on the fate of the Amadea.