US wins case to seize Russian superyacht in Fiji, sails away | National News

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The United States won a legal battle on Tuesday to seize a Russian-owned superyacht in Fiji and wasted no time in taking command of the $325 million vessel and sailing it away from the South Pacific nation.

The court ruling represented a significant victory for the U.S. as it encounters obstacles in its attempts to seize the assets of Russian oligarchs around the world. While those efforts are welcomed by many who oppose the war in Ukraine, some actions have tested the limits of American jurisdiction abroad.

In Fiji, the nation’s Supreme Court lifted a stay order which had prevented the U.S. from seizing the superyacht Amadea.

Chief Justice Kamal Kumar ruled that based on the evidence, the chances of defense lawyers mounting an appeal that the top court would hear were “nil to very slim.”

Kumar said he accepted arguments that keeping the superyacht berthed in Fiji at Lautoka harbor was “costing the Fijian government dearly.”

People are also reading…

“The fact that U.S. authorities have undertaken to pay costs incurred by the Fijian government is totally irrelevant,” the judge found. He said the Amadea “sailed into Fiji waters without any permit and most probably to evade prosecution by the United States of America.”

The U.S. removed the motorized vessel within an hour or two of the court’s ruling, possibly to ensure the yacht didn’t get entangled in any further legal action.

A U.S. Justice Department spokesperson did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

In early May, the Justice Department issued a statement saying the Amadea had been seized in Fiji, but that turned out to be premature after lawyers appealed.

It wasn’t immediately clear where the U.S. intended to take the Amadea, which the FBI has linked to the Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov.

Fiji Director of Public Prosecutions Christopher Pryde said unresolved questions of money laundering and the ownership of the Amadea need to be decided in the U.S.

“The decision acknowledges Fiji’s commitment to respecting international mutual assistance requests and Fiji’s international obligations,” Pryde said.


Russia claims advances in Ukraine amid fierce fighting

In court documents, the FBI linked the Amadea to the Kerimov family through their alleged use of code names while aboard and the purchase of items such as a pizza oven and a spa bed. The ship became a target of Task Force KleptoCapture, launched in March to seize the assets of Russian oligarchs to put pressure on Russia to end the war.

The 106-meter (348-foot) -long vessel, about the length of a football field, features a live lobster tank, a hand-painted piano, a swimming pool and a large helipad.

Lawyer Feizal Haniff, who represented paper owner Millemarin Investments, had argued the owner was another wealthy Russian who, unlike Kerimov, doesn’t face sanctions.

The U.S. acknowledged that paperwork appeared to show Eduard Khudainatov was the owner but said he was also the paper owner of a second and even larger superyacht, the Scheherazade, which has been linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The U.S. questioned whether Khudainatov could really afford two superyachts worth a total of more than $1 billion.

“The fact that Khudainatov is being held out as the owner of two of the largest superyachts on record, both linked to sanctioned individuals, suggests that Khudainatov is being used as a clean, unsanctioned straw owner to conceal the true beneficial owners,” the FBI wrote in a court affidavit.

Court documents say the Amadea switched off its transponder soon after Russia invaded Ukraine and sailed from the Caribbean through the Panama Canal to Mexico, arriving with over $100,000 in cash. It then sailed thousands of miles (kilometers) across the Pacific Ocean to Fiji.

The Justice Department said it didn’t believe paperwork showing the Amadea was next headed to the Philippines, arguing it was really destined for Vladivostok or elsewhere in Russia.

The department said it found a text message on a crew member’s phone saying, “We’re not going to Russia” followed by a “shush” emoji.

The U.S. said Kerimov secretly bought the Cayman Island-flagged Amadea last year through various shell companies. The FBI said a search warrant in Fiji turned up emails showing that Kerimov’s children were aboard the ship this year and that the crew used code names — G0 for Kerimov, G1 for his wife, G2 for his daughter and so on.

Kerimov made a fortune investing in Russian gold producer Polyus, with Forbes magazine putting his net worth at $14.5 billion. The U.S. first sanctioned him in 2018 after he was detained in France and accused of money laundering there, sometimes arriving with suitcases stuffed with 20 million euros.

Khudainatov is the former chairman and chief executive of Rosneft, the state-controlled Russian oil and gas company.


Tackling migration, Harris backs investment in Latin America

Vice President Kamala Harris says the Biden administration’s work to attract investment to Central America has generated $3.2 billion in private-sector commitments. The effort is intended to reduce migration toward the United States by creating more economic opportunity in countries plagued by poverty and violence. Harris made the announcement at this week’s Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, which brings together countries from across the hemisphere. As vice president, Harris is responsible for tackling migration issues, although progress has been slow. Harris has made just two trips to Latin America since taking office last year.


2022 midterms: What to watch in primaries in 7 states

Primary elections in seven states Tuesday will set the stage for U.S. House and Senate battles this fall that will play into control of Congress. Many contests are being shaped by political divisions in both major parties — and the lingering shadow of former President Donald Trump. A string of Republican House incumbents are contending with challenges from the political right. Some challengers are embracing Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud in his 2020 loss to President Joe Biden. No incumbent governors or senators appear to be in imminent danger. The primaries are in California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota.


Russia claims advances in Ukraine amid fierce fighting

Russia claims to have taken control of 97% of one of the two provinces that make up Ukraine’s Donbas, bringing the Kremlin closer to its goal of fully capturing the eastern industrial heartland of coal mines and factories. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says Moscow’s forces hold nearly all of Luhansk province. And it appears that Russia now occupies roughly half of Donetsk province, according to Ukrainian officials and military analysts.


US, allies fly fighter jets amid North Korea tensions

The United States and its Asian allies have flown dozens of fighter jets over waters surrounding the Korean Peninsula in a show of force as their diplomats discussed a coordinated response to a possibly imminent North Korean nuclear test. The flights came as U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman traveled to Seoul for discussions with South Korea and Japanese officials over the gathering North Korean threat and warned of a “swift and forceful” counterresponse if the North proceeds with a nuclear test explosion. While Washington has vowed to push for stronger sanctions if North Korea conducts a nuclear test, prospects for robust punitive measures are dim with a divided U.N. Security Council.


Doubts hang over UK's Johnson though bid to oust him fails

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson scrambled to patch up his tattered authority after surviving a no-confidence vote that exposed his shrinking support in a fractured Conservative Party and raised serious doubts about how long he can stay in office. The fact that the vote was held at all highlighted concerns that the famously people-pleasing Johnson has become a liability with voters. The scale of the rebellion would have led some prime ministers to consider resigning. But with Johnson defiantly vowing to “get on with the job,” the endgame may not be quick. In the meantime, Johnson faces serious questions about his ability to govern at a time of increasing economic and social strain.


Proud Boys documentarian to be among first Jan. 6 witnesses

The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol will open a prime-time hearing Thursday with a focus on far-right extremists who broke into the building that day. Those set to testify include a documentary filmmaker, Nick Quested, who recorded members of the far-right Proud Boys as they stormed the building. The committee is also expected to hear testimony from a U.S. Capitol Police officer, Caroline Edwards, who was seriously injured that day. In announcing the witnesses, the committee said it will present previously unseen material and provide the American people an initial summary of its findings.


'Donkey Kong defense' arises at Bill Cosby sex abuse trial

A dispute over the arcade game Donkey Kong arose during the civil trial of Bill Cosby over allegations that he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl at the Playboy Mansion in 1975. Cosby has denied the allegations by Judy Huth. On Monday, Huth’s high school friend Donna Samuelson, who visited the mansion with Huth and Cosby, was on the stand and questioning focused on a video game she says she was playing when the alleged abuse occured. Cosby attorney Jennifer Bonjean asked her why in statements before the trial she had repeatedly said she played Donkey Kong, which was not introduced until 1981. Samuelson said that she simply got the name wrong, and had been playing different games.


Avalanche sweep Oilers, advance to Stanley Cup Final

Artturi Lehkonen scored 1:19 into overtime, and Colorado rallied to beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-5 Monday night, completing a four-game sweep in the Western Conference final and sending the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2001. Colorado will take on the winner of the Eastern Conference final between the New York Rangers and two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. Cale Makar, Devon Toews Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen also scored for Colorado. Pavel Francouz stopped 30 of 35 shots. Zach Hyman scored twice for the Oilers. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Connor McDavid and Zack Kassian also scored for Edmonton. Leon Draisaitl had four assists and goalie Mike Smith finished with 36 saves.


Browns' Watson named in 24th lawsuit by massage therapists

A 24th woman has filed a civil lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct by Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, who is also awaiting possible discipline from the NFL. The latest lawsuit was filed in Houston by attorney Tony Buzbee, who is representing all 24 women. Buzbee says in a statement that the women “continue to stand firm for what is right.” Watson’s attorney Rusty Hardin said he could not immediately comment on the latest lawsuit. Hardin has repeatedly said Watson has done nothing wrong. Watson has been accused by massage therapists of harassing, assaulting or touching them during appointments and the latest lawsuit makes similar allegations.

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! News Smashers is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

DMCA compliant image

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.