Roman Abramovich’s $600m yacht leaves UK-operated port in Turkey

Abramovich is one of the most high-profile Russians to face international sanctions for alleged links to Putin

The luxury yacht 'Solaris' near the Aegean coastal resort of Bodrum in Turkey. AP

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The Solaris superyacht linked to sanctioned Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has been moved from Turkey’s Bodrum port on the Aegean coast to another near by.

Marine Traffic, a ship-tracking website, showed the 140 metre Solaris was anchored near Yalikavak after travelling about 50 kilometres around the Bodrum Peninsula.

The Solaris is one of two vessels linked to Abramovich that are together worth an estimated $1.2 billion and have docked in south-west Turkey in recent weeks.

On Monday, Global Ports Holding, the London-listed operator of Bodrum, said the decision to allow ships to dock was the responsibility of the Turkish authorities.

Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea FC, is one of the most high profile Russians to face international sanctions and asset forfeiture because of alleged links to President Vladimir Putin, whose decision to send troops into Ukraine resulted in weeks of fighting.

In the UK, there were questions about why the Solaris was allowed to dock and then permitted to sail from a port owned by a company listed in London.

Global Ports said it did not receive “any service fee or other payments concerning the berthing of the superyacht at Bodrum Cruise Port”.

Mr Abramovich was an unexpected face among the officials and diplomats gathered in a wing of the former imperial Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul before peace talks between Russia and Ukraine were held there.

The Kremlin said his presence would “enable certain contacts”, while Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Abramovich was sincerely working to end the war.

While his official capacity at the peace talks is vague, he is one of a number of people reported to be have been poisoned at an earlier round of talks.

Abramovich is one of several wealthy Russians who were last month added to EU and UK blacklists following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which began in February.

Governments are seeking to isolate Mr Putin and his allies for their role in Russia's war against Ukraine.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Russian oligarchs are welcome in Turkey but they must abide by international law if they wish to do business.

Turkey, a member of the Nato military alliance, shares a maritime border with Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea. It has good ties with both and has offered to mediate.

Ukrainian protesters tried to stop the Solaris from docking.

Two other yachts worth almost $60m moored by the Caribbean island of Antigua have been revealed to belong to Abramovich.

The vessels, the Halo worth $38m and the $20m Garcon, were docked in Antigua’s Falmouth Harbour, and registered with a British Virgin Island company.

Updated: April 14, 2022, 6:42 AM
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