A $200m superyacht seized from Putin's apparent choice for a Ukrainian puppet leader is being sold at auction, with Ukraine keeping the proceeds
- The yacht of pro-Kremlin Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk is being sold by Ukraine.
- The profits from the sale will go to the Ukrainian state.
A $200 million superyacht previously owned by an exiled oligarch will be auctioned off to benefit Ukraine, the Guardian reported.
The Royal Romance, then owned by Viktor Medvedchuk, was seized in Croatia in March, and a court has now ruled that it should be handed over to the Ukrainian Asset Recovery and Management Agency.
ARMA said it would "preserve the economic value by selling it at auction," making this the first such sale on behalf of the country's people.
The vessel is 303-feet long and almost 100-feet tall. Its 50 rooms, spread across six floors with two elevators, include a cinema, gym, and spa area.
It has space for 14 guests and 21 crew members, and a swimming pool with a "flowing waterfall cascading over the stern."
Its owner, Medvedchuk, is worth an estimated $620 million, per Forbes, and was the chairman of Ukraine's pro-Kremlin political party — Ukrainian Choice — before it was banned and disbanded following the Russian invasion.
He was also believed to be Vladimir Putin's top choice for a puppet leader to replace Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the event Russia successfully overthrew the Ukrainian government. Putin is godfather to Medvedchuk's youngest daughter, and Medvedchuk has called the Russian president "a personal friend."
Medvedchuk was living under house arrest for nine months before escaping when Russia invaded Ukraine. Arrested six weeks later, he was exchanged after the siege of Mariupol and has been living in exile in Russia ever since.
While Croatia seized the yacht in March, police only searched it on November 19 after a search warrant from the US justice department was approved, according to the Croatian Jutarnji list.
ARMA said that its representatives also inspected the yacht during a working trip to Croatia around the same time.
"It should be emphasised that the management of seized property, which is within the limits of foreign jurisdiction, is a unique situation and has no analogues not only in Ukraine, but also in international practice," the agency said.
It added that it's also searching for a $540 million yacht, which is owned by an unnamed Russian oligarch.
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