Brit ‘helped oligarch evade sanctions by renaming 255ft yacht Tango to Fanta’
Richard Masters, 52, and his Russian-Swiss co-accused Vladislav Osipov, 51, allegedly tried to hide Viktor Vekselberg’s connection to his 255-foot yacht Tango.
The pair, who ran a yacht company in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, managed Tango for Vekselberg.
But the US placed Vekselberg under sanctions in April 2018, after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and strengthened the measures against him last March, after the invasion of Ukraine.
The UK, Australia and Poland joined Washington in seizing Vekselberg’s assets and imposing travel bans that same month.
The US Department of Justice has accused Masters and Osipov of continuing to manage Tango despite these sanctions.
The pair allegedly came up with a plot to conceal who owned the $90 million (£73 million) yacht, which included changing its name to ‘the Fanta’.
It is also claimed Masters and Osipov used the American financial system to come up with a complex structure of fake companies to hide ownership.
The scheme also allegedly helped conceal from banks the hundreds of thousands of pounds in payments Vekselberg was getting.
The US seized Tango last April and have charged Masters and Osipov with conspiracy to defraud the US and to commit offences against the US, violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and money laundering.
Masters was arrested by the Spanish Guardia Civil last Friday, but Osipov is still at large.
US attorney Matthew Graves said: ‘Facilitators of sanctions evasion enable the oligarchs supporting Vladimir Putin’s regime to flout US law.
Source of data and images: metro