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MALTATODAY 17 April 2022

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 17 APRIL 2022 NEWS 16 MATTHEW AGIUS THE Luxembourg shipping au- thority has withdrawn its regis- tration certificate from the yacht M/Y Rahil, owned by a Russian oligarch with close ties to the Kremlin. According to official doc- uments, the Rahil (IMO No. 1008308), built in 2005, be- longs to the company Medex- lite Limited, which is based in the British Virgin Islands. But the Malta Sanctions Monitoring Board picked up on Medexlite's relationships with a company called Dismak Services, which belongs to the Russian oligarch Arkadi Roten- berg. Rotenberg, a close friend and judo sparring partner of the Russian president, was placed under sanctions in 2014 after the Russian invasion of Crimea as owner of PSJC Mosotrest, a company that built the Kerch Bridge between Russia and Crimea, which Russia has used to help claim sovereignty over the region that it invaded in 2014. The M/Y Rahil featured in court proceedings in Malta af- ter a Maltese law firm disput- ed a fine imposed on it by the Sanctions Monitoring Board for registering the vessel under the Maltese flag in 2016. The law firm insists the ship was registered during an interrup- tion in the sanctions and has exhibited documents support- ing its claim. Deflagged again German news outlet Tagess- reported earlier this month that after losing its Malta flag status in September 2020, the yacht had been reg- istered under the flag of Lux- embourg since July 2021. The yacht was registered in Malta until September 2020 and has been flying the Luxembourg flag since July 2021. The head of the Luxembourg maritime affairs regulator, Robert Biwer, was reported as saying that the yacht had now been deleted from the Luxem- bourg register for leisure ship registers. It should "no longer be moved under the Luxem- bourg flag. In order to be used or moved, a ship must be en- tered in a register and thus have a flag." The Luxembourgish author- ities cited "an initial suspicion regarding the true identity of the economic beneficiary" of the official owner of the yacht as the grounds for the yacht's delisting. The case was then forwarded to the Public Pros- ecutor's Office of the District Court of Luxembourg and to foreign authorities for further investigation. Russian yacht on Malta sanctions monitor dropped from Lux register Arkady Rotenberg (right) is a close friend and judo sparring partner of the Russian president Vladimir Putin

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