- Jailed Putin opponent Alexei Navalny’s team reported that a mysterious superyacht is staffed by several members of FSO.
- The Scheherazade is one of the world’s largest superyachts, but its owner isn’t publicly known.
- It has been rumored to belong to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A mysterious superyacht whose owner has not been publicly named is reportedly staffed by several members of a Russian state agency tasked with protecting Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to activists working with jailed Putin opponent Alexei Navalny.
On Monday, investigative journalist Maria Pevchikh and anti-corruption activist Georgy Alburov posted a video to YouTube about the mysterious superyacht, named the Scheherazade, docked on the coast of Carrara, Italy.
The Scheherazade, one of the largest vessels of its kind in the world, is a superyacht with no public owner, The New York Times reported.
According to the video, the 140-meter-long vessel is worth a whopping 75 billion rubles ($699.3 million) and features six floors, two helipads, a swimming pool, a spa complex, and a beauty salon.
According to a December 2020 crew list obtained by Pevchikh and Alburov, all permanent crew members except for the ship’s captain are Russian. Some of the ship’s personnel also work for the FSO, a militarized state agency tasked with being the president’s personal protection, per the video.
Earlier this month, US officials told The New York Times two weeks ago that they were investigating if the ship belonged to Putin but have made no final conclusions as of yet. Italian authorities are also looking into the ownership of the vessel, according to The Times.
Through “open source search,” Pevchikh said they were able to identify at least 10 FSO officers that are listed as crew personnel of the Scheherazade. Insider was not able to independently confirm the crew personnel who worked for the FSO.
“They are Russian state employees, military personnel, and they regularly travel to Italy as a group to work on the mysterious yacht,” she tweeted.
The UK, US, and EU have cracked down on Russia and seized some Russian oligarchs’ luxury assets — including superyachts — via economic sanctions, following Russia’s ongoing military assault on Ukraine.
Navalny’s team is urging Italian officials to seize the yacht should they confirm the boat’s owner is Putin.
The superyacht’s captain Guy Bennett-Pearce told The Times that Italian officials had boarded the ship earlier this month as part of an inquiry opened by the Italian financial police and that he had “no choice” but to hand over documents revealing the owner’s identity.
“They are looking hard. They are looking at every aspect. This isn’t the local coppers coming down, these are men in dark suits,” he said, adding that the information would be handled with “confidentiality.”
“I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that this will clear the vessel of all negative rumors and speculations,” he told The Times.
Bennett-Pearce, who is a British national and the only non-Russian working on the ship, did not rule out that the superyacht’s owner could be Russian, but could not elaborate more due to a “watertight nondisclosure agreement” and said that its owner was not any sanctions list.
“I have never seen him,” he said. “I have never met him.”