The CEO of the company restoring the $700 million superyacht docked in Italy that supposedly belongs to Russian President Vladimir Putin says the ship is free to set sail, the Daily Mail reports.
European authorities were trying to track down the yacht's owner, nicknamed ''Putin's yacht” by local residents, according to Business Insider, as authorities go after the luxury assets of oligarchs close to Putin.
Giovanni Constantino, CEO of The Italian Sea Group, the group carrying out the restoration, said there was ''no order so the yacht can leave but technically as there is work being done it won't be happening, she is in dry dock.”
''The refit taking place will go on until the end of April and then there will have to be checks, mainly technical, so before it leaves the dry dock it will be June at the earliest,” he told a local newspaper.
When asked if the yacht was owned by Putin, he said: ''I'll be honest we just don't know.
''What I will say is that we have handed over paperwork as requested by the authorities, and it has emerged that the owner is Russian.
''However, his name is not Putin and the name we have is not on the list of oligarchs which are under investigation.
''If there was anything untoward then the yacht would have been seized immediately but for the time being that just hasn't happened.”
The 459-foot yacht, named the Scheherazade, has not been publicly identified.
"Everybody calls it Putin's yacht, but nobody knows whose it is," Ernesto Rossi, a retired clerk seen walking near the Marina di Carrara, a small town on the Tuscan coast, told The New York Times. "It's a rumor that's been going around for months."
The yacht has two helicopter decks, a fully equipped gym, a swimming pool with a retractable cover, gold-plated fixtures in the bathrooms, and is studded with satellite domes, according to the Times.
Guy Bennett-Pearce, a British national and the ship's captain, told the Times that Putin did not own or had ever been on the yacht.
''I have never seen him. I have never met him,” he said.
He also said the owner was not on the sanctions list but did not rule out that the person could be Russian. He declined to say more about the owner's identity, citing a ''watertight nondisclosure agreement.”
Bennett-Pearce said Italian investigators had come on board Friday and examined some of the yacht's certification documents.
''They are looking hard. They are looking at every aspect,” he said. ''This isn't the local coppers coming down, these are men in dark suits.”
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