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Around the world and especially in Europe, the yachts of Russian billionaires have come under scrutiny as governments and organizations mount a sanctions campaign against the country for its invasion of Ukraine. There’s little risk of the boats impounded in Finland sailing out of reach as the sea remains frozen along the Nordic country’s coastline.

Around the world and especially in Europe, the yachts of Russian billionaires have come under scrutiny as governments and organizations mount a sanctions campaign against the country for its invasion of Ukraine. There’s little risk of the boats impounded in Finland sailing out of reach as the sea remains frozen along the Nordic country’s coastline. (Bishr Eltoni/AP)

Finland has taken legal custody of 21 yachts while it investigates whether their owners are sanctioned following Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

The luxury boats sit in winter storage and cannot be transferred while Finnish Customs looks into their beneficial owners, Sami Rakshit, head of the enforcement department, said by phone on Wednesday.

Asked to describe the boats, Rakshit said “they’re not boats an ordinary citizen would have, but they’re not 150 meters (490 feet) long either.” Their monetary value is “significant” in the context of Finland, a country of few millionaires.

Around the world and especially in Europe, the yachts of Russian billionaires have come under scrutiny as governments and organizations mount a sanctions campaign against the country for its invasion of Ukraine. There’s little risk of the boats impounded in Finland sailing out of reach as the sea remains frozen along the Nordic country’s coastline.

The boats will be held as long as necessary to conclude the probe, and if links to sanctioned individuals are established, the cases will be taken over by the National Enforcement Authority of Finland, Rakshit said. Some of the vessels’ registered owners have links to tax havens, he added.

“We don’t assume that all the detained yachts fall under sanctions but that is what we are trying to determine now,” Rakshit said.


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