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German authorities impound world’s largest superyacht in Hamburg

A giant scaffolding covered in tarpaulin covers the super-yacht "Dilbar" lying in dry dock on the river Elbe, in Hamburg, Germany, on March 7, 2022. (Odd Andersen/Getty Images/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

Authorities in Hamburg impounded Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov’s superyacht Dilbar after determining it was legally owned by his sister, who is also subject to Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine.

The 512-foot vessel, the world’s largest by volume, had been undergoing refitting in the northern German port city. Boasting two helipads and an 82-foot swimming pool, it’s valued at $600 million to $750 million, according to the U.S. Treasury.

Germany’s federal crime office said Wednesday that despite efforts at what it called “offshore concealment,” it had determined that the yacht’s owner is Usmanov’s sister, Gulbakhor Ismailova.

“The luxury yacht Dilbar is therefore subject to sanctions law and was able to be legally impounded in Hamburg,” the BKA said in a tweet. News agency DPA quoted a BKA spokesman as saying that the yacht cannot be “sold, rented or pledged as collateral.”

The move underscores the wider impact of the penalties levied by Europe and the U.S. on ultra-rich Russians seen as having close ties to President Vladimir Putin. Superyachts and other displays of wealth among Russia’s elite have drawn especially intense scrutiny since the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Usmanov owns a major stake in USM, a Russian investment group with holdings in Metalloinvest, one of the world’s largest iron ore producers, and telecommunications company MegaFon. He’s the sixth-richest Russian with a fortune of $19 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The yacht is named for his mother.

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