- Global Ports Holding, a UK-based port operator, is accused of breaching sanctions laws.
- Solaris, Roman Abramovich’s $600 million superyacht, docked in Turkey, on March 21.
- Abramovich has also been spotted at peace talks between Russia and Ukraine.
A London-based port operator has been accused of breaching sanctions laws by allowing superyachts belonging to a sanctioned Russian oligarch to dock in Turkey.
The Financial Times and others first reported the story.
Global Ports Holding, which describes itself as the world’s largest cruise operator, runs the dock in Bodrum in southwest Turkey, where Solaris has been docked since March 21.
The port operator, whose co-founder and chair is Turkish, runs 22 terminals in 14 countries. It has been listed on the London Stock Exchange since 2017, and its headquarters are in London, UK.
“They’re certainly at risk … a very big risk” of breaching UK sanctions, Michael Biltoo, a partner at law firm Kennedys, told the FT.
Global Ports Holding did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment made outside of normal working hours.
James Jaffa, founder of specialist superyacht law firm Jaffa & Co, told the FT: “It may be that ownership was transferred quietly, to an individual who is not on the sanctions list, prior to the restrictions being imposed.”
He added that the penalty for violating sanctions could be a jail term for executives and a significant fine for a company.
However, Benjamin Malty, a partner a Keystone law, believes the port operator was “doing nothing wrong” because a recent ban on Russian ships entering British ports did not apply outside the UK, according to the news report.
Insider reached out to the Turkish ministry of transport, maritime and communications but did not immediately get a response.
Roman Abramovich, the owner of the 461-foot vessel, Solaris, has been under much scrutiny amid sanctions imposed on Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies.
The Chelsea FC owner was spotted at peace talks between Russia and Ukraine recently. He was reportedly targeted in a suspected poison attack and asked if he was dying. After a meeting, Abramovich and others experienced symptoms that included red eyes, constant and painful tearing, and peeling skin on their faces and hands, per The WSJ.
A spokesperson for Abramovich told Reuters last month: “We never comment on the movements of the yacht or any other vehicles or vessels,” but appeared to acknowledge the oligarch’s ownership of the yacht.
Abramovich is reportedly the owner of four superyachts. Two are docked in Turkey, including the $700 million luxury superyacht Eclipse, and two more that are reportedly moored in the Caribbean.