Germany seizes world’s biggest superyacht from Russian oligarch’s sister

Germany has seized the world’s biggest superyacht from a Russian oligarch’s sister.

Authorities in the country seized the massive vessel in the port city of Hamburg after determining that it belongs to Gulbakhor Ismailova, the sister of Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov.

The 512ft-long superyacht Dilbar is flagged in the Cayman Islands and registered to a holding company in Malta.

It was launched in 2016 at a reported cost of more than $648 million (£493million) and comes complete with an 80ft pool and two helipads, making it the largest superyacht ever build in terms of sheer tonnage.

German police said the yacht, which is being held at a shipyard, can no longer be sold, rented or loaded.

The US and the EU last month announced economic sanctions against Mr Usmanov, a metals magnate, over his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin in retaliation for the invasion of Ukraine.

According to a German Federal Criminal Police report cited by the EU, ownership of the Dilbar superyacht was traced back to Ismailova after a painstaking investigation unravelled a complex paper trail.

Dilbar is registered to Navis Marine Ltd based in the Cayman islands, but that company is owned by Almenor Holdings Ltd – a holding company based in Cyprus.

Almenor is controlled by a Swiss company, Pomerol Capital SA, which holds the shares “in trust for the benefit of” the Sister Trust, which the investigation ultimately determined is held by Ismailova.

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A spokesperson for Usmanov said in March that many of his assets, including the Dilbar and most of his properties in Britain, had been transferred into trusts to benefit his family prior to the sanctions being imposed.

The spokesperson said: “From that point on, Mr Usmanov did not own them, nor was he able to manage them or deal with their sale but could only use them on a rental basis.

“Mr Usmanov withdrew from the beneficiaries of the trusts, donating his beneficial rights to his family.”

However, it appears that the EU is now extending the reach of its sanctions to the family members of oligarchs targeted in the initial round of measures.

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