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How do you really stick it to a Russian oligarch who won’t listen to you? You nab his $300 million yacht, of course. But the U.S. government is finding out the hard way just how expensive it is to live large.

After Russia invaded Ukraine, the U.S. declared a series of sanctions on the country. As the war continued, the west agreed to dial up the pressure on Putin by attacking his inner circle. Fijian law enforcement seized a docked 348-foot superyacht that supposedly belonged to Russian oligarch Suleyman Kerimov.

The yacht, which is called the “Amadea,” is now in San Diego. The U.S. claims it is just exercising its multiple warrants against Kerimov and his property. The government plans to auction the yacht and donate the proceeds to the people of Ukraine. There’s only one catch: maintenance.

Another Russian oligarch, Eduard Khudainatov, has come forward and said the big boat is actually his. Khudainatov is the retired CEO of Russia’s state-run oil company, Rosneft. He is most certainly another ally of Putin’s. But the U.S. doesn’t currently have a warrant against him, so he sued to get “his” boat back.

Super yacht parked at a shipping container dock in Fiji.
Yacht ‘Amadea’ in Fiji | Leon Lord/FIJI SUN/AFP via Getty Images

Khudainatov’s goal is to prevent the sale with a lengthy court battle. Normally, the U.S. might let him delay, but there’s a major problem: the upkeep. The Amadea, which is longer than the Navy’s Los Angeles class attack submarines, costs an average of $600,000 to maintain. Every month. Even just tied to a dock.

The U.S. is not up for paying $7 million a year to keep the big boat afloat. Prosecutors have told a judge that paying these maintenance fees is “excessive,” and the cost of keeping the yacht around justifies an immediate auction. They argue that Khudaintov’s case is clearly a ploy.

The irony, is that maintenance costs are how the U.S. prosecutors mounted a case against Kerimov in the first place. He didn’t buy the Amadea in the U.S. But he apparently made $1 million in maintenance payments through U.S. financial institutions.

All the red tape aside, the U.S. has the world’s biggest navy. So when it told Fiji it was taking some Russian’s yacht, the island nation didn’t have much of a choice. But that begs another question. The Amadea is just a boat. And it’s probably docked at the naval shipyard in San Diego, where the U.S. has mechanics sitting around on payroll. So is there any chance the U.S. is actually paying “sticker price” to keep the thing afloat? Who knows. But I seriously doubt any of Putin’s buddies are getting it back.

Next, learn how oligarchs and warlords get Ferraris, or watch a drone flyover of the Amadea in the video below: