World's biggest sailing yacht owned by Russian billionaire is seized by Italian police

The $578 million 'Sailing Yacht A' has been sequestered in Trieste

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A superyacht owned by Russian billionaire Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko has been seized by Italian police.

The $578 million Sailing Yacht A – which is the world’s biggest sailing yacht, according to the Italian government – has been sequestered at the northern port of Trieste, the government said.

The seizure was confirmed by the prime minister's office on Saturday, a few days after the businessman was placed on an EU sanctions list following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The vessel, which is 143 metres high, was designed by Philippe Starck and built by Nobiskrug in Germany.

'Sailing Yacht A', owned by Russian oligarch Andrey Melnichenko, in front of Monaco harbour. The yacht has been siezed by Italian police. Reuters

Mr Melnichenko owns major fertiliser producer EuroChem Group and coal company SUEK.

Last week, Italian police seized villas and yachts worth $156 million from five high-profile Russians who have been placed on the sanctions list.

The police operations were part of a co-ordinated drive by western states to penalise wealthy Russians linked to President Vladimir Putin.

Andrei Melnichenko is one of many wealthy Russians who have been penalised by western states for their links to President Vladimir Putin. Reuters

The UK expanded its sanctions regime against seven Russian oligarchs on Thursday over their links to Mr Putin.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was the most high-profile name on the list, as the UK government imposed asset freezes and a travel ban on the billionaire.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: "With their close links to Putin they are complicit in his aggression. The blood of the Ukrainian people is on their hands. They should hang their heads in shame."

A police officer boards the superyacht owned by Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko which has been sequestered at the northern port of Trieste, Italy. Reuters
Updated: March 22, 2022, 12:02 PM