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German authorities raid yacht linked to sanctioned Russian oligarch

Suspect identified as Alisher Usmanov, a close ally of Vladimir Putin; he is suspected of breaching sanctions and money laundering rules, officials say

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, poses for a photo with USM Holdings founder, businessman Alisher Usmanov during an awarding ceremony in Moscow's Kremlin, Russia, January 26, 2017. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, poses for a photo with USM Holdings founder, businessman Alisher Usmanov during an awarding ceremony in Moscow's Kremlin, Russia, January 26, 2017. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

BERLIN — More than 60 police officers raided a luxury yacht in northern Germany linked to a Russian businessman in connection with alleged breaches of sanctions and money laundering rules, officials said Tuesday.

The statement by Frankfurt prosecutors identified the suspect only as a 69-year-old Russian businessman. But German weekly Der Spiegel identified him as oligarch Alisher Usmanov, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Frankfurt prosecutors said the suspect of their investigation is alleged to have conducted several transactions between 2017 and 2022 using a complex network of offshore companies to hide the origin of the payments, which amounted to millions of euros.

Usmanov is subject to sanctions in the United States and the European Union.

The raid comes the week after state and federal police searched 24 properties connected to Usmanov in the German states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein.

A spokesman with the Frankfurt prosecutor’s office confirmed that Tuesday’s yacht raid was part of the same investigation.

Reports last month indicated that Turkey has become the go-to location for some sanctioned Russian oligarchs seeking to store their yachts, including for Russian-Israeli oligarch Roman Abramovich.

Ankara has maintained diplomatic ties with Moscow throughout the war in Ukraine.

A total of 11 yachts belonging to Russian oligarchs are reportedly docked in Turkey.

In March, it was reported that as many as 14 private jets from Russia had landed at Ben Gurion Airport.

However, Israel gradually changed its approach, saying in April it will not allow its territory to be used to circumvent international sanctions and notifying Russian oligarchs that they would not be allowed to leave their yachts and planes in Israel for more than 48 hours.

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