After Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year, global leaders around the world wanted to find a way to pressure president Putin and halt his attacks. Politicians unveiled sanctions including bans on Russian oil, freezing overseas assets for high-profile individuals, and even seizing yachts belonging to Russia’s super-rich.
Since March, Russian private yachts that dock in ports around the world risk being seized and sold off in an attempt to encourage the country’s rich and powerful to pressure Putin into ending his assaults. So far, we can’t be sure if it’s a tactic that’s working.
But, it has meant that ships owned by Russian oligarch and former KGB operative Sergei Chemezov, businessman Alexei Mordashov and maybe even Putin himself have so far been seized by global powers.
Now, our favorite awful F1 driver and oligarch son, Nikita Mazepin, has had his family’s luxury liner seized in Italy. But, there’s a twist in this tale, as the boat has vanished!
According to The Guardian, the 22-meter long Aldabra was owned by Nikita Mazepin’s father, Dmitry Mazepin – the billionaire owner of mineral fertilizer Uralkali, which sponsored the Haas F1 team in 2021. The Guardian reports:
“The vessel, said to be worth between €700,000 ($743,000) and €1m, was docked at Olbia port and seized in March when Mazepin was named on the sanctions list in the weeks following the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“It remained there until June, when the yacht disappeared hours before it was officially confirmed as belonging to Mazepin.”
Presumably, they were able to confirm the ship as belonging to the Mazepins as “Nikita Woz Ere” was scrawled on the dock after the ship vanished. But, what happened to the ship next?
According to police in Italy, Dmitry Mazepin hired a foreign company, which then appointed a Sardinian captain to sail the yacht out of Italy. Once it left Italian waters, the ship reportedly made a stopover at the small port of Biserta in Tunisia. After that, its whereabouts become unknown.
The Mazepins also own a luxury villa in Sardinia, which has also been seized by the authorities. Its whereabouts, however, remain known.
The Guardian reports that it’s the first case of a Russian with assets frozen in Italy managing to dodge the EU sanctions. If the ship is ever recovered, Mazepin, the company he hired to move the ship, and the Sardinian captain will all face fines of up to €500,000 ($531,000) for “illegally removing the vessel from Italy.”
So, if you spot the Aldabra resting in whichever port you winter in, let the Italian authorities know. If you look carefully, you might find Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 hopes stashed away somewhere onboard.