ROME (Reuters) – Italian police have seized a yacht owned by Alexey Mordashov, the richest man in Russia before being blacklisted this week by the European Union following Moscow’s attack on Ukraine, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Friday.
The 65-metre (215-ft) “Lady M” was impounded in the northern Italian port of Imperia, the source said.
A second yacht owned by Gennady Timchenko, another billionaire who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is also blocked in Imperia and will be sequestered shortly, the source added.
The move followed similar seizures in France and Germany this week of yachts belonging to other Russian oligarchs, as Western states implement massive sanctions, including asset freezes, to try to force Russia to withdraw from Ukraine.
According to Italian media, Lady M was built by U.S. shipbuilders Palmer Johnson in 2013. Forbes magazine says it is worth $27 million.
Mordashov built his wealth around the Russian steel producer Severstal. Taking into account the assets of his whole family, Forbes estimates that Mordashov had an estimated net worth of $29.1 billion before sanctions hit, making him the richest man in Russia.
Italian media says he owns a villa worth some 66 million euros ($72 million) on the coast of the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. It was not immediately clear if that property had yet been seized by police.
Timchenko made a fortune in oil trading and has been described by Putin as one of his closest associates. Britain said last month that he was a major shareholder in Bank Rossiya, which played a role in the destabilisation of Ukraine after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.
($1 = 0.9156 euros)
(Reporting by Emilio Parodi; Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Marguerita Choy)