European authorities are trying to track down the owner of a superyacht docked in Italy.
The owner of the Scheherazade is unknown because of confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements.
Some think the yacht could belong to Putin himself and locals have nicknamed it “Putin’s yacht.”
European authorities are trying to track down the owner of a superyacht currently docked in Italy, whose ownership has been a mystery, according to the New York Times.
As assets of Russian oligarchs and those close to Russian President Vladimir Putin are seized, authorities are trying to identify the owner of the Scheherazade — a 459-foot-long superyacht sitting in a marina on the Tuscan coast of Italy.
Some think it could belong to one of the oligarchs, and locals told The Times that the boat has even been nicknamed “Putin’s yacht.”
“Everybody calls it Putin’s yacht, but nobody knows whose it is,” Ernesto Rossi, a retired clerk seen walking near the marina told The Times. “It’s a rumor that’s been going around for months.”
The ship’s captain, Guy Bennett-Pearce, told The Times Putin has never been on the yacht, and that the owner was not on any sanctions list, though he didn’t rule out the possibility of the owner being Russian.
Bennett-Pearce told The Times that he had to sign non-disclosure agreement before working aboard the Scheherazade.
NDAs are commonplace among luxury vessels, according to Nautilus International, a union for maritime professionals, and many crew members and contractors aboard Scheherazade likely had to sign them alongside Bennett-Pearce, which is why its ownership remains a secret.
The Times reports that the Scheherazade has also taken extra steps to ensure privacy, including a cover to protect its nameplate and a barrier at the port to obstruct some of the boat from view.
Bennett-Pearce told The Times that he was forced to hand over the owner’s information to “men in dark suits” Monday, but that he was promised the identity of the owner would remain confidential.
“They are looking hard,” Bennett-Pearce told The Times. “They are looking at every aspect.”
But Bennett-Pearce told The Times that the ship does not belong to a Russian oligarch or to Putin.
“I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that this will clear the vessel of all negative rumors and speculations,” he told the Times.
The investigation into the Scheherazade comes as officials are cracking down on a number of wealthy and powerful Russians in an attempt to seize their assets after a round of international sanctions was announced.
Sanctions were announced by countries across the world after Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.
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