Vladimir Putin's $700M Superyacht Is Docked in Italy: Russian Opposition

A yacht worth an estimated $700 million, which is currently docked in Italy, may belong to Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny's organization.

The Scheherazade, one of the world's largest superyachts whose owner has not been publicly named, is currently stationed in the Marina di Carrara port on Italy's west coast in Tuscany.

According to a video released on Monday by journalist Maria Pevchikh and activist Georgy Alburov—both of the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) set up by Navalny—the 459-foot ship is owned by Putin and its crew includes members of Russia's Federal Protective Service (FSO), who are tasked with protecting the Russian president.

The 15-minute video detailing the allegations was published online one day before Navalny, one of the most prominent and outspoken Putin critics, was found guilty of large-scale fraud and contempt by a Russian court and faces a further 13 years in jail.

Navalny, who alleged that he was poisoned by the Kremlin in 2020, is already serving a three-and-a-half year sentence over allegations he violated the terms of his suspended sentence following a 2014 conviction for money laundering.

The video, which has already been viewed nearly 2.5 million times on YouTube, discussed how Putin would be affected by the European Union's sanctions against Russia in the wake of the country's invasion of Ukraine if he owns property in the EU.

The clips then alleges that the Scheherazade, complete with a two helicopter decks, a cinema and a swimming pool, may actually belong to Putin after obtaining a crew list detailing who works on the luxury vessel.

Alburov noted that many of these crew members allegedly work for the FSO, the agency that "protects Putin and organizes his life." Some crew members are either listed outright as working for the FSO, or their addresses are identical to the headquarters of the FSO's Caucasus branch, said Alburov.

The foundation also said it had spoken to one of the crew members, who confirmed that the superyacht is owned by Putin.

The New York Times previously reported that Putin may own the vessel. The ship's captain, British national Guy Bennett-Pearce, denied the allegation and said the Russian president has never even been on the yacht.

"I have never seen him. I have never met him," he told The New York Times. Bennett-Pearce added that the yacht's owner is not on any sanctions list but did not rule out that whoever it is could be Russian.

Italian police and U.S. officials have already launched investigations into who owns the Scheherazade, but have so far failed to come up with any concrete conclusions.

As noted by Pevchikh, the yacht hasn't been seized yet because authorities have been unable to find its owner.

"With a very simple open source search we managed to identify at least ten FSO officers that are listed as personnel members of Scheherezade," Pevchikh tweeted on Monday. "They are Russian state employees, military personnel, and they regularly travel to Italy as a group to work on the mysterious yacht.

"To sum up, a dozen of Vladimir Putin's personal guards and servants are constantly maintaining one of the world's largest yachts docked in an Italian port. We think that this is a solid enough proof that Scheherazade belongs to Putin himself and must be immediately seized."

On Tuesday, Navalny was found guilty of fraud and contempt charges, which he and his supporters say were fabricated in order to end his political ambitions, reported Reuters.

He was jailed last year after surviving a poison attack from a nerve agent, which he said was ordered by Moscow. The Kremlin has frequently denied attempting to assassinate one of Russia's most vocal critics of Putin.

Navalny is expected to be sentenced on Tuesday, March 22.

Russia's Foreign Ministry has been contacted for comment.

putin yacht
The Scheherazade, one of the world's largest superyachts, is alleged to be owned by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Screengrab