France has seized the vessel of Igor Sechin, a long-time ally of Vladimir Putin and the boss of Rosneft, one of the largest oil companies in Russia.
The Amore Vero, a luxury megayacht built in 2013, was seized by French authorities on Thursday morning in the dockyard of La Ciotat, a port on the Mediterranean coast, according to Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.
The yacht is valued at £86m according to VesselsValue, a data and valuation provider, and is registered to a company whose main shareholder is Mr Sechin, French officials said.
Mr Sechin is regarded as one of the most powerful people in Russia, acting as deputy prime minister under Mr Putin from 2008 to 2012, and maintains strong connections to the country’s intelligence agencies.
On Tuesday, the EU sanctioned Mr Sechin, who has been chairman of Rosneft since 2004, alongside financier Alisher Usmanov, a former co-owner of Arsenal football club, in response to Russia’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine last week.
Mr Usmanov also had his £437m yacht, the largest in the world by gross tonnage, seized on Wednesday in a Hamburg shipyard by German authorities.
The Dilbar, which Mr Usmanov purchased in 2016, has the largest swimming pool ever installed on a yacht, alongside two helicopter pads, a beauty salon, and room for 24 passengers in 12 suites.
It is typically staffed by a crew of 96 people.
Also on Wednesday, Everton Football Club cut ties with companies owned by Mr Usmanov, which included the team's sponsors.
Some MPs have questioned why the UK-based Russian businessman Roman Abramovich has not had his assets, including his Eclipse superyacht, seized yet.
Meanwhile, at least five other superyachts owned by Russian billionaires have arrived in the Maldives, according to ship tracking data.
The Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, does not have an extradition treaty with the US.
Among the vessels in the archipelago according to Marine Traffic was the superyacht Clio, owned by Oleg Deripaska, the founder of aluminium giant Rusal who was sanctioned by the United States in 2018; the Titan, owned by Alexander Abramov, a co-founder of Russian steel producer Evraz; and the 88-metre (288-foot) Nirvana owned by Russia's richest man, Vladimir Potanin.
Most of the vessels were previously seen anchored in Middle Eastern ports. A Maldives government spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.