Fiji Hands Over Yacht Linked to Russian Businessman to the US

Photo: Reuters

The Facts

  • On Tues., Fiji's Supreme Court lifted a stay order which had prevented the US from seizing a superyacht linked to a Russian businessman.

  • The $325M superyacht is believed to be owned by Suleiman Kerimov, a Russian economist and former politician sanctioned by the US, EU, and UK. However, lawyers have repeatedly claimed that it actually belongs to another Russian businessman.

The Spin

Establishment-critical narrative

At best, the focus on seizing Russian billionaires' assets is a distraction from formulating a more realistic strategy to defeat Putin and restore Ukraine. At worst, it's evidence of clear hypocrisy, given the US wasn't sanctioned for invading Iraq for equally unjustified reasons. Either way, seizing superyachts doesn't help Ukraine.

Pro-establishment narrative

Seizing Russian assets, including those belonging to sanctioned individuals, is crucial for escalating economic pressure on the Kremlin. If the Western countries can navigate the legal complications, the assets should be transferred to Ukraine to help fund its defense and rebuild the nation.

Libertarian narrative

Targeting individuals based only on their nationality is unfair and risks leading to widespread Russophobia. This is cancel culture stigmatizing an entire population for the crimes of one autocrat.

Narrative D

Enforcing strong sanctions against Russian oligarchs may present a legal challenge, as is the case with the Amedea. The seized assets still belong to the oligarchs. A freeze simply means that the owner can't sell or transfer ownership. The latest round of sanctions poses unprecedented and unanswered legal questions which may lead to off-court battles that could last years.

Establishment split



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