A $700 million superyacht connected to Putin was seized in Italy and is currently undergoing refurbishment, but it is unclear who is covering the costs.

A $700 million superyacht connected to Putin was seized in Italy and is currently undergoing refurbishment, but it is unclear who is covering the costs.

A $700 Million Superyacht, Fit for a President

Scheherazade Superyacht

In a captivating tale of luxury and international intrigue, an opulent $700 million superyacht named Scheherazade is at the center of a political storm. The vessel, reportedly linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, was seized by Italy in 2022 amidst sweeping sanctions relating to the Ukraine war. However, rather than gathering dust in a port somewhere, the superyacht is now being refitted in Italy, with the unnamed owner footing the bill.

Measuring an impressive 459 feet and boasting six floors, two helipads, a swimming pool, a beauty salon, and gold-plated bathrooms, Scheherazade is the epitome of extravagance and grandeur. The vessel, only four years old, is currently undergoing refurbishment at the hands of the Milan-listed Italian Sea Group. While the company has confirmed the refit, it has declined to disclose details about ownership, adding an air of mystery to the story.

Sources familiar with the matter claim that the true owner of the Scheherazade yacht is Eduard Khudainatov, the sanctioned former CEO of Russian state oil company Rosneft. However, rumors circulate that Khudainatov may merely be a “straw owner,” shielding the true identity of the superyacht’s benefactor. This speculation has led some to believe that the superyacht actually belongs to Putin himself, a claim supported by US authorities, according to The New York Times.

Adding fuel to the speculation, two activists associated with Putin’s imprisoned opponent, Alexei Navalny, alleged that some of the ship’s crew members are from a Russian state agency responsible for protecting the President. However, these claims have been denied by the Kremlin, further shrouding the superyacht’s true ownership in secrecy.

The Scheherazade is just one among many luxury assets seized by the West as a result of the far-reaching sanctions imposed on Russia. These sanctions emerged following the start of the Ukraine war in February 2022 and have targeted various oligarch-linked yachts. Among those that have fallen under the scrutiny of authorities are the $81 million Alfa Nero and the $48 million Phi.

The ongoing saga of the Scheherazade superyacht not only captures the allure and extravagance of the world of luxury vessels but also offers a glimpse into the hidden power plays and political tensions that underpin this domain. As the refit of the superyacht continues in Italy, the true identity of its owner remains shrouded in secrecy, providing fodder for fantastical narratives and whisperings within the world of high society.

Note: The Kremlin and Italian Sea Group have yet to respond to requests for comment on the matter.