New Delhi: As per ship tracking data, around five superyachts owned by Russian billionaires were reportedly anchored or cruising in the Maldives on Wednesday. The Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, does not have an extradition treaty with the United States, Reuters reported.
The sudden anchorage of these yachts was attributed to the sanctions imposed on Russia as it had initiated an arms attack on Ukraine and proceeded invasion since February 24.
According to the shipping database MarineTraffic, the vessel Clio, owned by Oleg Deripaska, founder of the major aluminium company Rusal, is anchored off the coast of Maldives capital, Male. Rusal has been under US sanctions since 2018. Steel produces Evraz's co-founder Alexander Abramov's The Titan has arrived here on February 28. Three more yachts owned by Russians were spotted cruising in Maldivian waters on Wednesday, including the 88-metre (288 ft) Nirvana owned by Russia's richest man, Vladimir Potanin. Most of the vessels, now near the Maldives, were anchored in the ports of the Middle East earlier this year.
The Maldives has not responded to Reuters' queries.
Meanwhile, the US has informed that it will take strict actions to seize the properties of sanctioned Russians. It will launch a multilateral Transatlantic task force to identify, hunt down, and freeze the assets, including yachts, mansions, and any other ill-gotten gains, of sanctioned Russian companies and oligarchs this week, it said.
US imposed sanctions on certain influential Russians after their alleged ties with President Vladimir Putin and Russia's involvement in the 2016 US election. But Moscow denies the latter.