Second superyacht Abramovich docks in Turkey without sanctions

  • Both yachts are moored in major resorts in southwestern Turkey
  • Turkey said it opposes sanctions imposed by Western allies
  • According to sources, Abramovich, further Russian investments are expected

MARMARIS, Turkey, March 22 (Reuters) – A second superyacht linked to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich docked at a Turkish resort on Tuesday and sources familiar with the talks said he and other wealthy Russians were looking to invest in Turkey given sanctions elsewhere.

Western governments targeted Abramovich and several other Russian oligarchs with sanctions as they sought to isolate President Vladimir Putin and his allies during Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Read more

While strongly criticizing the invasion, Turkey has said it opposes the sanctions imposed by its NATO allies on principle. This could make it a possible haven for Russians looking to invest and preserve their assets.

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Register

Eclipse, which is one of the world’s largest yachts at 162.5 meters (533ft) long, docked in the southwestern Turkish resort of Marmaris after skirting the Greek islands, according to a Reuters cookie and tracking data. She sails under the flag of Bermuda.

The ship would have two helipads, nine decks, a swimming pool and built-in missile defenses.

Solaris, another superyacht linked to Abramovich, arrived a day earlier in the resort town of Bodrum some 80km (50 miles) away, having also avoided the waters of European Union countries that have sanctioned oligarchs .

Abramovich, the owner of English football club Chelsea, was briefly in Istanbul last week, according to flight tracking data and people familiar with travel. There was no indication that he was aboard either yacht.

A source in Ankara familiar with recent conversations with Abramovich said he and other wealthy Russians were looking to invest in Turkey given sanctions imposed elsewhere.

“He wants to do work and can buy assets,” the source said, adding that the oligarch already has assets in Turkey. The source did not give details.

Another source in Ankara said Turkey was not currently considering joining the sanctions and expected wealthy Russians to buy assets and make investments.

“We are acting sensitively on issues such as the channeling of oligarchs’ money into Turkey,” the person said.

A spokesperson for Abramovich did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The foreign and interior ministries did not immediately comment on whether Western governments had asked Turkey to seize the sanctioned assets. Last week, the banking regulator told Reuters it was monitoring sanctions against Russia but had not ordered banks to limit citizens of any country.

A small group of people aboard a motorboat protested in front of the Solaris as it docked, holding Ukrainian flags emblazoned with the words “no war”, photos showed on social media.

With the arrival of Eclipse and Solaris, Abramovich has so far placed more than $1.2 billion of his fortune in Turkey, with each ship valued at $600 million or more. Yachts linked to Russia are blocked in several countries, including Italy, Spain and Germany.

“HARD SITUATION”

Sanctions are tricky for Turkey, which has close trade and diplomatic ties with Russia and Ukraine. Critics of President Tayyip Erdogan’s government have said the balancing act could leave it vulnerable internationally. Read more

“Anchoring in Turkish marinas of embargoed yachts in European countries could leave Turkey in a difficult position on the international stage,” Utku Cakirozer, a lawmaker from the main opposition CHP party, told Reuters.

Russia calls its invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation” aimed at disarming the country and eliminating what it says are dangerous nationalists in the government. Ukraine and its Western allies say this is a false pretext for an unprovoked war.

Turkey has sought to broker a ceasefire and peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv.

Both the Eclipse and the Solaris were built in German shipyards. They are part of a series of yachts owned by Abramovich, according to reports in luxury goods publications SuperYachtFan, SuperYacht and Forbes.

The 140-meter (460-foot) yacht Solaris, which also sails under the flag of Bermuda, remained moored in Bodrum on Tuesday, a week after leaving the resort town of Tivat, Montenegro.

Join now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Register

Additional reporting by Yesim Dikmen in Istanbul, Ece Toksabay and Tuvan Gumrukcu in Ankara; Written by Daren Butler; Editing by Jonathan Spicer and Frank Jack Daniel

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Sharon P. Juarez