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Italy impounds €650 million super yacht linked to Russian president Vladimir Putin

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By Richard Good  & AFP
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"Scheherazade", worth an estimated $700 million, has been the subject of a probe into its ownership by Italy's financial police.
"Scheherazade", worth an estimated $700 million, has been the subject of a probe into its ownership by Italy's financial police.   -   Copyright  Photo : Leon Lord/Fiji Sun (via AP)

It boasts two helipads, a swimming pool and a movie theatre but the 140-metre luxury yacht the Sheherazade will not be setting sail any time soon. 

The floating palace was impounded impounded by Italian authorities, under EU sanctions imposed against Russia in response to the war in Ukraine.

Anti-corruption activists have claimed that the boat, which is valued at €650 million, belongs to Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, citing as evidence a crew list which contains the names of people who work for the organisation that looks after the president’s security.

But the Italian ministry of finance said only that it had found "significant economic and business links” between the ship's owner and “eminent people in the Russian government".

Authorities intervened on Friday after being alerted that the yacht was getting ready to set sail from the Tuscan port of Carrara.

It had been berthed for several months for maintenance work at a shipyard at the Marina di Carrara, within the western seaside town of Massa.