BY APB Staff on 27 May 2022

Lawyers representing the company that owns Amadea will now take the case to the Fijian Supreme Court

The US has won the latest battle in an ongoing dispute over sanctioned superyacht Amadea, which is currently docked at the Fijian port of Lautoka.

Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, who is sanctioned by the United States, Britain and the European Union, was found by an FBI investigation to be the ‘ultimate beneficial owner’ of the US$325m Lürssen vessel, which measures 106 metres. It is reported that Kerimov hid his ownership through a complicated shell company setup. 

Lawyers for the company that owns Amadea, Millemarin Investments, claim Kerimov is not the owner, and that the actual owner is Eduard Khudainatov, who is not under sanctions. Last week, defence lawyer Faizal Haniff filed an application seeking an interim stay on the ruling.

On Friday, the Fiji High Court rejected the appeal. Haniff will now take the case to the Fijian Supreme Court, and will apply for an order that prevents the US from taking Amadea out of Fiji in the meantime. 

Amadea was originally arrested by police in Fiji on April 14, two days after arriving in the island nation following an 18-day journey from Mexico. Amadea has since been moored at Lautoka Wharf. 

Crew members aboard the US$325 million superyacht were questioned in police custody over failure to secure customs clearances before entering Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Brigadier-General Qiliho told the Fiji Sun in April that the yacht had allegedly anchored within Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) before getting the necessary customs clearance.

“Vessels that arrive in the Fiji EEZ must get their custom clearance first, which was allegedly breached by the yacht Amadea and is being investigated,” he said.