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German police search superyacht believed to be owned by Uzbek-born Russian tycoon

Vladimir Putin's Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly. (The Kremlin/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

German police have searched the superyacht Dilbar, the world’s biggest yacht by tonnage, believed to be owned by Alisher Usmanov — an Uzbek-born billionaire and close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The search conducted on September 27 was part of investigations of Usmanov’s alleged tax evasion, money-laundering, and violations of European Union sanctions imposed on him and Russia over Putin’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine launched in late February, public prosecutors in Frankfurt told reporters.

German authorities in March said they had seized the Dilbar, a 156-meter superyacht worth $600 million, and Forbes magazine subsequently reported that the vessel belonged to Usmanov.

Prosecutors did not mention Usmanov’s name or provide the names of any suspects. They specified only that the search was conducted in “northern Germany” and did not say why nearly six months passed before they searched the vessel.

Last week, German police searched dozens of houses and apartments belonging to Usmanov and discovered four rare Faberge eggs.

Usmanov, 69, is currently believed to be residing in Uzbekistan, according to Der Spiegel, which said he is accused of evading at least 555 million euros ($534 million) in German taxes since 2014.