Captain of £38m superyacht detained by UK claims ministers ‘have the wrong guy’

·2-min read
 (via REUTERS)
(via REUTERS)

The captain of the £38million superyacht detained by the UK has claimed ministers have “got the wrong guy”.

The yacht was detained by the National Crime Agency in March while docked in Canary Wharf, and was described by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps as “an icon of Russia’s power”.

Speaking to Sky News, captain of the Phi and Technical Director at Dalston Projects Ltd, Guy Booth said: “It’s headline-grabbing, clickbait, attention-seeking.

"Phi is low-hanging fruit, she’s the only Russian boat around here. It was easy pickings done for social media."

The superyacht which has a freshwater swimming pool and a cellar containing 400 bottles of wine.

 (PA)
(PA)

Denying that the yacht was connected to the Russian regime, Mr Booth added: “It’s unjust and the owner doesn’t deserve it.”

The Phi is registered to Dalston Projects Limited, a company based in Saint Kitts and Nevis and carries the Maltese flag.

As it is only detained and not seized, the owner is liable to the £9,500-a-month mooring fees.

Sir Ian Collett, managing director of Ward & McKenzie yacht consultancy said there is nothing “nefarious” surrounding the vessel’s ownership.

Sir Ian Added: “It’s a perfectly normal structure. Mr Naumenko is referred to as the ultimate beneficial owner because you now have to declare the ultimate beneficial owner to the authorities post-Panama Papers.

"So that is all perfectly open. There’s no nefarious background to this. It is, in my world, bog-standard practice."

A statement from the Department for Transport read: “We stand firmly by our decision to detain assets, such as the Phi, which satisfy both the scope and purpose of sanctions, and will always stand with Ukraine against this despicable and illegal war.

"The secretary of state will continue to act within his available powers to ratchet up the economic pressure on Russia and make life harder for Russian elites."

The National Crime Agency has been approached for comment regardig the vessel’s ownership.

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