Britain has detained a STG38 million ($A66.4 million) superyacht owned by a Russian businessman which was docked in the Canary Wharf financial district of London, the government says.
The 58.5 metre Dutch-built yacht, named Phi, was detained under the government’s Russian sanctions, the first time the regulations have been used to detain a ship.
The government said Phi is owned by a Russian businessman but that ownership was “deliberately well hidden”, with the company the ship is registered to based in the islands of St Kitts and Nevis, and the ship carrying Maltese flags.
“Today we’ve detained a 38 million pound superyacht and turned an icon of Russia’s power and wealth into a clear and stark warning to Putin and his cronies,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement.
“Detaining the Phi proves, yet again, that we can and will take the strongest possible action against those seeking to benefit from Russian connections.”
Phi was first identified as being potentially Russian owned on March 13, the government said, and a subsequent investigation led to its detention. The government said it was also looking at a number of other vessels.
The government said the ship was in Canary Wharf for the superyacht awards and was planning to depart on Tuesday.