Nikita Mazepin’s Oligarch Dad Is Wanted by Italy Over Disappearing Yachts
Police have issued fines for multiple parties involved in the yacht’s escape from Italian waters.
Italian authorities are on the hunt for Dmitry Mazepin, after the Russian oligarch's yachts managed to slip two of his seized yachts out of the country.
As the billionaire owner of Russian chemical company Uralchem, Mazepin ended up on an EU sanctions list just weeks after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine last year, as covered by The Guardian. Acting on this, Italian authorities seized two of Mazepin's yachts in the Sardinian port of Olbia. Both yachts were named Aldabra, though wore the flags of two different countries. Last summer, both yachts mysteriously disappeared within weeks of each other, causing authorities to raise the alarm.
It's the first recorded case in Italy of a Russian with frozen assets dodging the wartime EU sanctions. According to earlier reports, one of the yachts managed to escape mere hours before police confirmed it belonged to Mazepin himself. The 22-meter vessel is estimated to be worth €700,000 to €1 million ($760,000 - $1.08 million USD). The current whereabouts of the yachts are unknown, though they are believed to have stopped over in Tunisia and Turkey respectively.
Mazepin reportedly executed the escape at arm's length. Police allege the Russian billionaire hired a foreign company, which then subsequently hired a Sardinian captain to move the yachts. Both the captain and company will be subject to fines up to €500,000 ($543,000 USD), as well as Mazepin himself.
It's not the only issue to befall the Mazepin family in the wake of the Russian invasion. Dmitry Mazepin's son, Nikita Mazepin, famously lost his race seat with the Haas Formula 1 team just prior to the start of the 2022 F1 season.
Police have issued an official public notice of the charges against Mazepin in the town hall of Forte dei Marmi, a Tuscan coastal resort, where Mazepin was listed as being fiscally resident. In addition to the yachts, authorities have also seized the billionaire's villa in Sardinia. The property, known as Rocky Ram, formerly belonged to Carlo De Benedetti, the Italian former owner of the La Repubblica newspaper.
The situation raises questions over how a seized vessel was able to simply sail out of port. In particular, the fact that both yachts were able to flee in such quick succession suggests security didn't improve in response to the first vessel's departure. In any case, one thing is certain: Mazepin will receive a cold welcome if he returns to Italy any time soon.
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