NewsItaly's multimillion-dollar upkeep of Russian oligarchs' yachts ignites debate

Italy's multimillion-dollar upkeep of Russian oligarchs' yachts ignites debate

Lady M. - yacht belonging to Russian oligarch Aleksei Mordashov. For two years, it has been moored in an Italian port.
Lady M. - yacht belonging to Russian oligarch Aleksei Mordashov. For two years, it has been moored in an Italian port.
Images source: © Wikipedia

6:31 AM EDT, May 12, 2024

Seven yachts owned by Russian oligarchs remain stationed in Italian ports, a direct consequence of assets being frozen amid the conflict in Ukraine. These yachts have not been confiscated and incur significant maintenance expenses. The Italian government has footed a bill of approximately $34.5 million for these costs.

The presence of Russian yachts in Italian ports symbolizes the broader impact of European sanctions against Russia, introduced following the onset of the Ukraine war.

The cost of holding and maintaining these luxury vessels is substantial, burdening the Italian state treasury with million-dollar expenses.

The Italian government has expended around €32 million ($34.5 million) over two years on the upkeep of Russian oligarchs' seized yachts, covering all maintenance costs, from docking fees to routine upkeep, for a total of seven vessels, as reported by the Nexta agency on the X platform.

Italian government covers maintenance costs for confiscated Russian yachts

Maintaining each luxury yacht incurs significant expenses, with the Italian government bearing the full cost. Docking fees range from $13,000 in winter to $32,300 in summer. Moreover, the monthly cost of port-supplied electricity averages $10,800, alongside additional expenses for insurance and fuel. Furthermore, yacht engines require an inspection and maintenance service every 12 months, which can cost up to $54,000 at a time.

Legal restrictions prevent sale and confiscation

The Italian government has expressed an interest in officially confiscating and reselling the yachts of Russian oligarchs. However, legally, these boats remain under the ownership of their original owners, making such actions unfeasible.

"This situation represents a temporary freezing of assets, not a confiscation. Any permanent seizing would face legal challenges as it might infringe upon basic human rights, including the right to property. Arbitrary confiscation by the state is not permissible," stated Andrea Saccucci, legal defender of the Russian oligarchs.

The Kremlin has been forthright in its response, threatening legal action against any attempts to seize Russian nationals' assets. This situation places Italy and other European nations in a difficult quandary.

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