Russia sanctions: Two indicted, one arrested, in Tango yacht case

2023-01-24 14:57:03 Marine News

Back in April last year, U.S. and Spanish authorities seized the $90 million yacht Tango owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg

On Friday, 20 Jan, indictments were unsealed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia charging two men, Vladislav Osipov, 51, a Russian national, and Richard Masters, 52, a U.K.national,, with facilitating a sanctions evasion and money laundering scheme in relation to the ownership and operation of the Tango.

Masters has been provisionally arrested by Spain’s Guardia Civil and is being held pending extradition proceedings. An arrest warrant against Osipov is outstanding..

“The indictment alleges that both defendants used a variety of techniques to mask ownership of the Motor Yacht Tango in violation of U.S. law,” said Special Agent in Charge Alvin M. Winston of the FBI Minneapolis Field Office. “Together with the Justice Department’s KleptoCapture Task Force, the FBI will hold accountable those who assist Russian oligarchs in their efforts to hide assets and violate sanctions. We thank our international partners who helped facilitate the arrest of Richard Masters in Spain earlier today.”

As alleged, Masters ran a yacht management company in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. After Vekselberg was sanctioned in April 2018, Masters’s company took over the management of Tango, and conspired with others to evade the U.S. sanctions.

“Today’s indictments and the arrest executed by Spanish law enforcement demonstrate the FBI’s continued focus on tracking down and holding accountable those who assist sanctioned Russian oligarchs,” said FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate. “The FBI, along with our international partners, will continue to aggressively investigate and pursue anyone who facilitates the corrupt practices of others, placing our institutions at risk.”

The Department of Justice has been clear. Corporations and executives have a choice: they can participate in the global effort to uproot corruption, sanctions violations, and money laundering, and enjoy the benefits of prompt and fulsome cooperation; or they can, as Osipov and Masters are alleged to have done, attempt to shield themselves and their clients behind a veil of fraud,” said Director Andrew Adams of Task Force KleptoCapture. “These men made their decisions, and now face the consequences of a failed attempt to profit through, rather than standing against, a sophisticated, transnational criminal enterprise.”

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