US law enforcement officials recovered what appeared to be a Fabergé egg from a yacht seized from a Russian oligarch in Fiji, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said Wednesday.
The $300 million yacht, owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov, was sailed by US law enforcement officials from Fiji to the San Diego Bay late last month, where it remains docked.
Monaco told the Aspen Security Forum that the jeweled egg, which, if authentic, would make it one of the few remaining in the world and worth millions of dollars, was one of the more “interesting” discoveries federal law enforcement officials have made aboard the seized yachts. The eggs, now priceless collectibles, were created by the House of Fabergé in Saint Petersburg between the late 19th century and the early 20th century.
As a part of the Justice Department’s “KleptoCapture” initiative and a multinational task force called REPO – Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs – the US and its allies have seized billions of dollars’ worth of sanctioned Russian assets since March, according to the Treasury Department. The initiatives were launched after Russia invaded Ukraine, in order to drain Russia of resources used to sustain its war effort.
Other yachts seized abroad since the war began include a 255-foot yacht owned by Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, according to the Justice Department; a 132-foot superyacht owned by the Russian oligarch Gennady Timchenko; and a 289-foot yacht linked to oligarch Igor Sechin.
The efforts have so far not stopped Russian President Vladimir Putin from continuing the war. But Monaco said it remains “important to expose corruption” and demonstrate to the Russians that “we will do everything we can to go after their ill-gotten gains.”
The US has been working with law enforcement counterparts around the world to search and seize the yachts, she added, and the Justice Department has asked Congress for the authority to give Ukraine the proceeds from the seized goods.