The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a civil forfeiture complaint which, if approved, could allow the United States government to take ownership of the arrested 106.1-metre superyacht Amadea, which was detained last year as a result of sanction law.
The complaint alleges that maintenance and other works were carried out in violation of US law, including allegations of money laundering.
"The United States brings this action today after a careful and painstaking effort to develop the necessary evidence showing [...] clear interest in the Amadea and the repeated misuse of the US financial system to support and maintain the yacht," commented Task Force KleptoCapture co-director Michael Khoo.
The filing was submitted in federal court in New York yesterday (23 October) and further alleges the existence of "a chain of shell companies [designed] to conceal the identity of the true owner of the yacht" in corporate documents.
The yacht was arrested in May 2022 after its UBO (ultimate beneficiary owner) was allegedly sanctioned following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. US authorities detained the vessel and subsequently moved it from Fiji to San Diego, where she remains.
A release issued by the DOJ said: "The burden to prove forfeitability in a civil forfeiture proceeding is upon the government, and proceedings involving this property and its claimants remain ongoing. The yacht could therefore be 'subject to forfeiture to the United States'." It continued: "A civil forfeiture complaint is merely an allegation that money or property was involved in or represents the proceeds of a crime".