U.S takes steps to seize 99m Russian-owned superyacht Madame Gu

According to news reports the U.S Department of Justice is taking steps to seize the 99-metre Feadship superyacht Madame Gu, currently situated at the Mina Rashid Marina, Dubai. The motor yacht is linked to Russian steel magnate and lawmaker Andrei Skoch who remains on the sanctions list.

In June 2022, the United States declared Madame Gu as blocked property which means the yacht cannot employ U.S citizens or use American companies for her upkeep.

However, the United States is unable to seize property in a sovereign nation without the permission of its government. According to American officials, the United Arab Emirates is currently taking a less strict approach at cooperating with the United States to pursue oligarchs. In a statement Emirati officials said they take their role of "protecting the integrity of the global financial system extremely seriously," but they did not specifically comment on Madame Gu.

According to U.S court filings, Mr Skoch is a member of Russia's Parliament and has linked assets worth billions of dollars. He has had sanctions imposed on him twice by the United States, first in 2018 and then after Russia's invasion of Ukraine this year.

It is believed that U.S officials will use the same case they made to impound a $90 million Airbus business jet linked to Mr. Skoch in August as a blueprint for seizing Madame Gu. To do so, investigators will have to show that the owner, or the companies that provide services to it, are involved with the U.S financial system.

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