Navalny's Team Says Data Links Putin To $700 Million Superyacht

The team of jailed Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny has published details about a superyacht that they suspect belongs to President Vladimir Putin.

The team said in a video on its YouTube channel on March 21 that all crew members, except the captain, of the Scheherazade yacht worth $700 million, are Russian citizens, and many of them are employed by the Federal Protection Service (FSO), the agency responsible for Putin's personal security.

According to Navalny's team, the 140-meter long superyacht was made in Germany in 2020. Details on its owner are unknown.

However, in mid-March, The New York Times cited sources that U.S. authorities had linked the yacht to Putin. A former crew member also confirmed the link to the newspaper.

According to the report, the yacht traveled to the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi twice, once in 2020 and again in 2021. It is known that Putin regularly visits his residence in Sochi.

The ship's captain, Guy Bennett-Pearce, a British national, has denied that Putin owned or had ever been on the yacht. He also refused to name the vessel's owner.

If the yacht's connection to Putin is proven, it will be impounded, as Putin is currently under sanctions from the European Union over Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

At this point, the yacht is anchored at the Marina di Carrara port in the Italian region of Tuscany.

The attention to evidence of Putin's alleged wealth, or the perks that he has at his fingertips, is nothing new.

Officially, Putin earned a salary equivalent to $136,000 in 2020, and in his income and asset declaration that year he listed a modest apartment, three Soviet-era cars, and a small camping trailer handed down by his late father.

But in more than two decades as president or prime minister, he has regularly been accused of amassing a huge personal fortune. Putin has consistently denied the allegations.

In 2012, three years before he was shot dead near the Kremlin, opposition politician Boris Nemtsov co-authored a report describing a stunning array of helicopters and jets, homes, luxury watches, and four yachts that, according to the report, belonged to Putin or were available for his use in connection with his office.

In February, an 82-meter-long yacht also allegedly linked to Putin traveled from the Germany city of Hamburg to the Russian port city of Kaliningrad, two weeks before Russia started an unprovoked military attack on Ukraine and just ahead of sweeping Western sanctions on Putin and those close to him that have frozen their assets outside of Russia.

In early 2021, Navalny's team issued an investigation shining a spotlight on a $1.35 billion estate on the Black Sea's exclusive Gelendzhik Bay that was allegedly built for Putin.

Separately on March 22, authorities in Finland said they had impounded 21 yachts belonging to Russian citizens as they investigate whether the owners are under sanctions.

The same day, Reuters reported that authorities in the British territory of Gibraltar had seized a yacht belonging to Russian billionaire Dmitry Pumpyansky, who is under Western sanctions. Pumpyansky is the chairman of PJSC, a major steel-pipe supplier for Russia's oil and gas industry.

With reporting by Helsingin Sanomat, Reuters, and The New York Times

[please be sure to consider clicking the support button, to support this web project and related efforts]

Key Words: Russia, Putin, Kremlin, Corruption, Yacht, Navalny, Russian Politics, Russian Government

Kremlin and Red Square at Night