US Seizes Mega Yacht from Businessman with Alleged Putin Ties

    Photo: Wall Street Journal

    The Facts

    • In a joint US and Spanish operation, Spanish police and the FBI seized a $90M superyacht in Spain belonging to Viktor Vekselberg, one of Russia's richest men. Vekselberg has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    • The detention of the 255 ft luxury yacht, named Tango, marks the first such seizure in the Biden administration's efforts to go after Russian oligarch's luxury assets such as real estate, private jets, and superyachts.

    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    The only way to make Putin stop the war in Ukraine is to squeeze any Russian benefiting from links to Moscow. The US authorities will continue to 'seize and freeze' Russian oligarch's assets, wherever they try to hide them.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    It's hypocritical to impose sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine, but not on the US for invading Iraq for equally unjustified reasons, or on Israel for invading and annexing Arab lands.

    Narrative C

    Economic sanctions might make life difficult, but they'll never work to thwart the invasion. The only thing that will work is increasing military assistance to the Ukraine.

    Libertarian narrative

    These sanctions are unfair and there is a clear risk they will lead to widespread Russophobia. It's not just the sanctions on Russian oligarchs, there are also many informal sanctions on Russian culture and business. This is cancel culture stigmatizing an entire population for the crimes of one autocrat.

    Establishment split



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