Sunday, December 4

Superyacht linked to sanctioned Russian oligarch Igor Kesaev on sale for £26m | Russia

A superyacht built for an oligarch subjected to sanctions over the supply of weapons to the Russian army is being discreetly offered for sale for £26m, with buyers advised that any viewings will be in the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.

Brokers are being warned that the sale of MySky, built for Igor Kesaev, should not be advertised online. The vessel’s latest recorded location was in a marina on a small island four miles south of Malé, the capital island of the Maldives.

Agents involved in the sale said last week that Kesaev was not the “beneficial owner”, but declined to identify the individual or entity selling MySky. The promotion highlights the opaque ownership structures of many of the world’s superyachts.

Kesaev’s daughter Ilona confirmed last year that MySky was in her family’s “fleet”, saying she was considering installing artworks on board.

The steel and aluminum 51-meter (167ft) MySky was delivered in 2014 to Kesaev, 55. He was added to the sanctions list by the UK government and the European Union in April over an alleged shareholding in one of Russia’s biggest weapons factories.

My Sky was among the vessels that temporarily disappeared from ocean-tracking systems after the invasion of Ukraine. Ella it is registered in the Cayman Islands, according to maritime information services, and has previously been offered for charter at rates from $259,000 (now £233,000) a week. The sales information for the superyacht seen by the observer describes it as a “beautifully maintained yacht with a contemporary sophisticated interior”. The sale price is €29.5m (£26m) and joint agents for the sale are the international yacht broker Burgess and the American broker Merle Wood.

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The paperwork circulated to brokers, many of whom were at the Monaco Yacht Show last week, states: “Advertising MySky in either printed publications, on the internet, or in any other medium is strictly prohibited.” MySky is the second superyacht delivered to Kesaev by the Dutch shipyard Heesen Yachts since 2010. The other one is Sky which maritime information services also record as registered in the Cayman Islands.

MySky has five cabins, a gym, whirlpool bath and a helipad. The interior is designed by the Dutch architect Erick van Egeraat, with black marble, white leather furnishings and a crystal chandelier. Van Egeraat also worked on the interior design of the Mercury City Tower in Moscow, which was the brainchild of Kesaev and is workshop than the Shard in London.

A magazine published by Heesen shipyard in spring last year, stated: “The Kesaev family is well known to Heesen, having commissioned Sky and MySky over the past decade.” Ilona Kesaeva, who studied at the London School of Economics and founded the Ilona-k gallery in the Mercury City Tower, told the magazine: “I’m thinking of enhancing the fleet by incorporating some of the art we have on the walls of the gallery. MySky in particular has a very strong, distinctive design.”

Igor Kesaev at a ceremony in 2012, when the Mercury City Tower in Moscow became Europe’s tallest skyscraper. Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

Kesaev was subjected to sanctions over the Degtyaryov weapons plant in Kovrov in western Russia, which provides the military with anti-tank rifles, machine guns and anti-aircraft missile systems.

Reuters reported in April that the Degtyaryov plant’s 2021 annual report listed Kesaev as holding a stake of 49%. Kesaev is appealing against the sanctions and told Reuters that he is no longer a shareholder in the weapons plant.

Merle Wood, whose brokerage and charter company is based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said that Kesaev was not the beneficial owner of MySky and that he did not know who the current owner was. “I don’t speak to the owners,” he said. “Burgess had a highly respected law firm do a background check. The global yachting community has been made well aware of the availability of the boat, but it’s not in magazines or on the internet.” Wood said it was standard practice for some sellers to request a sale was not advertised online.

Burgess said: “As a joint agent for this sale, we can confirm that Mr Kesaev is not the beneficial owner of MySky and that Burgess does not have any commercial relationship with him. Burgess has completed full due diligence to ensure that the listing complies with all UK and EU laws.

“We would not work with sanctioned individuals under any circumstances. We can confirm that based on our due diligence verified by external lawyers, the owner of MySky is not subject to sanctions. As an agent we have no control over the location of the vessels for sale.”

Some of the superyachts linked to Russian owners disappeared from global tracking systems after the invasion of Ukraine or sailed to countries where vessels were less likely to be seized by the authorities. Vessels with a total value of more than £2bn have been impounded since the invasion.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development warned in a report on ship ownership in 2003 that it is “very easy, and comparatively cheap, to establish a complex web of corporate entities to provide very effective cover to the identities of beneficial owners”. Campaigners have called for greater transparency on who owns ships.

Kesaev did not respond to a request for comment.

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