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Germany, France seize Super Yachts owned by Russia’s billionaires

Rosneft boss Igor Sechin's yacht Amore Vero - meaning 'true love' - has been seized.(Photo: BBC)

Authorities in France and Germany have seized super yachts owned by Russian billionaires as part of the sanctions imposed by western countries following Russia’s military operation in Ukraine.

A yacht owned by Igor Sechin, chief of Russian state energy company Rosneft, was seized by French customs officers near Marseille while German authorities have taken over a $600m vessel owned by Russian metal tycoon Alisher Usmanov, according to a BBC report.

The French acted quickly on Wednesday when customs officers noticed that Mr Sechin's 88-metre "Amore Vero" was "taking steps to sail off urgently".

The vessel had arrived in the Mediterranean port of La Ciotat in January and was scheduled to stay there while being repaired until 1 April.

In the German port of Hamburg shipyard authorities seized Mr Usmanov's 156-metre 'Dilbar', the world's largest motor yacht by gross tonnage.

It has also been reported that yachts belonging to five other Russian billionaires were heading to the Maldives, which is seen as a safe haven because it does not have an extradition treaty with the US.

BBC also said that some Russian oligarchs against whom sanctions have been imposed by the European Union were shocked to find their debit cards no longer function, and they are now relying on using cash from safes.

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