Russian oligarchs could be on the run as Russian President Vladimir Putin continues the seventh day of incursions in Ukraine. President Biden warned in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night that the U.S. and Europe would "seize" the assets of Russian billionaires. Thanks to the Twitterverse, finding some Russian billionaires, if by air or by sea, has become an easy task.
Bloomberg data shows the four biggest Russian-owned luxury yachts are in the Maldives. The largest is Ocean Victory, a 140-meter superyacht owned by Viktor Filippovich Rashnikov, a Russian billionaire who made most of his wealth in the iron and steel industry. Aluminum tycoon Oleg Deripaska is sailing his 72-meter yacht, called Clio, in the same area.
A 142-meter superyacht called Nord, owned by Alexei Mordashov, another steel billionaire, is currently transiting Seychelles. Russian banker, Andrey Kostin's 66-meter Sea Rhapsody, is sailing between Somalia and Maldives.
An estimated 7% to 10% of the global superyacht fleet is owned by Russians, according to industry watcher Superyacht Group. Overall yacht counts have dipped to 10 from 19 this time last year in the Maldives, while they've climbed from five to 12 in the Seychelles, a former British colony known for its palm- fringed islands and sandy beaches. - Bloomberg
By air, tracking Russian billionaires has never been easier. Jack Sweeney, 19, created a Twitter account called "Russian Oligarch Jets" that follows the flight movements of some of Russia's wealthiest businessmen. The Twitter bot updates followers when and where the private jets take off and land.
The movement of Russian oligarchs worldwide after the invasion comes as western sanctions are complicating things for Russia and the elite class. The Biden administration has made it very clear that they will "seize their yachts, their luxury apartments, their private jets," which is probably why some are fleeing to the Indian Ocean.
"Tonight, I say to the Russian oligarchs and the corrupt leaders who built billions off this violent regime — no more," Biden said last night. "We're coming for your ill-begotten gains."