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Ukraine war: Italy orders seizure of yacht linked to Putin

Italy has ordered the seizure of a $700m yacht linked to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

The Scheherazade has been undergoing repairs at a port in Tuscany since September last year.

Italy’s finance ministry said that the boat’s owner had ties to “prominent elements of the Russian government”.

It is being seized under EU sanctions brought over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that have seen other vessels confiscated.

The exact owner of the Scheherazade has not been established but US officials told the New York Times it could belong to Russia’s president.

Supporters of the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny have also linked the 140m vessel to President Putin.

Other reports suggest that the yacht, which has two helicopter landing pads and a swimming pool inside, is owned by Eduard Khudainatov, the former chief of Russian energy giant Rosneft who is not currently a target of EU sanctions.

Many superyachts are linked to Russian billionaires but ownership is shrouded in secrecy – they are often registered through a series of offshore companies.

Several have already been seized by Western countries.

Editing by Omotola Oguneye