Sanctions imposed to Russian billionaires on the circle around Putin

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Italian police have seized a superyacht owned by Russian billionaire Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko, the prime minister’s office said on Saturday. The 143-meter (470-foot) Sailing Yacht A, which has a price tag of 530 million euros ($578 million. It was built by Nobiskrug in Germany and is the world’s biggest sailing yacht. The police operations were part of a coordinated drive by Western states to penalise wealthy Russians they say are linked to President Vladimir Putin. Melnichenko owned major fertiliser producer EuroChem Group and coal company SUEK. A spokesperson for Melnichenko, Alex Andreev, said the businessman had “no relation to the tragic events in Ukraine. He has no political affiliations”. Britain on Thursday imposed sanctions on Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, Chelsea Football Club owner ,freezing his assets. Western states are going to penalise wealthy Russians they say are linked to President Vladimir Putin.

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Only Italian police have seized villas and yachts from five high-profile Russians who were placed on sanctions lists. At the same time that the world has imposed sanctions to the circle around Mr. Putin, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have instead prioritized relations with Moscow. The Center for Advanced Defense Studies, a Washington-based nonprofit that collects data on global conflicts, found that Putin allies owned at least 76 properties in Dubai, either directly or under the name of a close relative.