Russian oligarch Andrey Melnichenko’s superyacht Motor Yacht A is one of six linked to Russians that has been sailing in Maldives’ waters, having managed to avoid any action against it post-sanctions.
Melnichenko’s yacht stopped sharing its location while near the island nation, a day after the coal and fertilizer tycoon was sanctioned by the EU on March 9, according to MarineTraffic data.
At least three of the six Russia-linked yachts hid their locations, changed their destinations, or left Maldives’ waters for international waters, Reuters reported.
Another one of Melnichenko’s yachts, the Sailing Yacht A considered one of the world’s biggest yachts was seized in mid-March by Italian authorities.
While the Maldives is opposed to Russia’s invasion, it is concerned about the economic fallout of losing Russian tourists. This group was the country’s largest number of tourists in January pre-invasion but arrivals have since fallen 70% , tourism minister Abdulla Mausoom told Reuters.
Maldives’ legal system is also not robust enough to seize yachts, the country’s chief prosecutor, Hussain Shameem, told the agency.
Requests made by Reuters to Melnichenko’s spokesperson, his charitable foundation, and the two companies he resigned from in March, the fertilizer producer EuroChem Group and coal company SUEK, were left unanswered.
Insider’s requests for comment from the oligarch’s spokesperson and charitable foundation were also not immediately answered.