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More spectacular seizures against Russian assets in France

French authorities are stepping up their efforts to enforce EU sanctions against Russia by detaining commercial merchant ships and, in a high-profile action, announced they had seized a superyacht linked to one of Russia’s wealthiest oligarchs . French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire thanked customs officers for their efforts citing breaches of the newly imposed sanctions.

Customs inspectors boarded the superyacht Amore Vero, an 85-metre (281 ft) vessel registered in the Cayman Islands late on March 2. According to the minister, the ship had arrived at a French shipyard in La Ciotat near Marseille on January 3 for three months of scheduled maintenance.

“At the time of the inspection, the ship was making arrangements to sail urgently, without having completed the planned work,” Le Maire said in a statement. He reports that customs carried out a check for several hours before seizing the ship. The Mayor said they had determined that the ship belonged to a company of which Igor Sechin, the head of the Russian oil company Rosneft, would be the main shareholder. “This ship fell under the freezing measures,” announced the minister.

This is the third boat intercepted by France as part of the retaliatory measures taken after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Last Saturday, the French authorities immobilized in the English Channel a merchant ship belonging according to Paris to the Russian bank PSB, the Baltic Leader, and on Sunday, it was a Russian freighter, the Victor Andryukhin, which was intercepted in the port of Marseille-Fos.

Elsewhere in Europe, German authorities have also seized an even larger boat. This is the Dilbar, a 156-meter-long superyacht which was passing through the port of Hamburg, also for maintenance work. (Photo: Yacht Charter Fleet)