Former KGB Agent, Putin Ally Has $140 Million–Plus Yacht Seized in Spain

Authorities in Spain seized a superyacht belonging to Russian oligarch Sergei Chemezov, Spain Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced Monday.

Chemezov is a former KGB officer and head of Russian state conglomerate Rostec, Reuters reported. He was part of the United States' and Australia's lists of sanctions this month. The vessel, called Valerie, is 279 feet long and valued at over $140 million, the report added. Other estimates have the value of the yacht at about $153 million.

Valerie's seizure is just one of several yacht seizures taking place across Europe. As sanctions from the European Union, U.S. and other Western countries continue to mount on Russian oligarchs, more yachts that are still within the sanctions' reach have been blocked from sailing.

"Today we seized—the technical term is provisionally immobilized—a yacht belonging to one of the principal oligarchs," Sanchez announced on La Sexta television, adding that "there will be more."

Before he was included on the U.S. and Australia's sanction lists for Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Chemezov was sanctioned by the U.S. and the EU in 2014 and the United Kingdom in 2020 for the Russian annexation of Crimea, Reuters reported. Chemezov has not yet been on the EU's recent sanction lists, but it is possible he will be included in a list expected to release in the next few days.

The yacht is registered to Anastasia Ignatova through a British Virgin Islands company, the Reuters report added. Ignatova is also the subject of U.S. sanctions, as is the rest of Chemezov's family.

Valerie is one of several yachts and superyachts that have been seized in Europe. Newsweek reported Saturday that authorities in Italy seized Russian billionaire Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko's yacht, which is worth more than $570 million.

Last week, Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov's yacht Dilbar was restricted from leaving where it was anchored in Germany. Dilbar was large enough for two helipads and a swimming pool and valued at more than $640 million before it started undergoing renovations at the German port worth another few hundred million dollars.

To avoid the same fate, some Russian oligarchs have made efforts to move their vessels outside of the sanctions' reach, anchoring the yachts in places like the United Arab Emirates, the Maldives and the Caribbean.

Another report by Reuters described Chemezov as "a close ally" of Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to the report, Chemezov told his staff that while the sanctions "are rather serious," Russia will come out on top in this war.

"If you glance at Russia's history, almost all of that history Russia has battled with different sanctions, with enemies which encircled her, and she always came out as the victor," he said. "Now will be the same."

Update 03/15/22 11:10 a.m. ET: This story was updated to add more background information.

Superyacht Valerie Seized In Spain
An 85-meter yacht belonging to a Russian oligarch was impounded in the Spanish port of Barcelona, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said. Above, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines-flagged yacht "Valerie," moored in the port of Barcelona on March 15. Photo by Lluis Gene/AFP via Getty Images