Putin’s crony Viktor Medvedchuk has become the owner of a luxurious five-deck mega yacht which made its first appearance on the Cote d’Azur in France in August. The information was reported by MP and former journalist Serhiy Leshchenko in his blog, August 20.
Medvedchuk, who was former chief of staff to President Leonid Kuchma, heads up the pro-Russian and anti-EU political organization called People’s Choice and was widely rumored to be Putin’s choice to govern the semi-autonomous Donetsk “republic” under Kremlin’s control. Putin is godfather to one of Medvedchuk’s daughters.
The yacht named Royal Romance is 92.5 meters in length and is considered unique in its engineering and design. It was completed late last year at the Makkum shipyardof the Royal Dutch Feadship shipyards, which is widely recognized as the world leader in custom-built super yachts.In mid-July the yacht left the port in Amsterdam in order to arrive in time for Medvedchuk’s birthday on August 7.
According to Leshchenko, Medvedchuk spent almost 180 million euros (US $214 million) for this masterpiece.
“This is the newest yacht in the world,” Leshchenko quotes a specialist. ” It was built at one of the most expensive shipyards in the world. One meter of such a yacht costs 2-2.5 million euros. No one knows the exact cost, but Medvedchuk’s new yacht is worth around 180 million euros,” the specialist concluded.
As Leshchenko points out, the cost is astronomical and tops the cost of the air fleet of Rinat Akhmetov, who is considered Ukraine’s richest man.
“For most of Medvedchuk’s fellow citizens, it does not matter if the sum is 180 thousand or 180 million euros,” Leshchnko writes. “Both sums are of the same order — incredible. This is worth more than Akhmetov’s entire personal fleet, which consists of three Airbus A-319 aircraft and two Falcons.”
The main feature of Medvedchuk’s yacht is the 12-meter swimming pool on the main deck, which flows into a backlit waterfall. According to the publication Superyacht Times, it is the largest pool ever installed on any Feadship yacht. The article writer notes that in its appearance, cost, and interior configuration, the yacht is considered unique.
Furthermore, this is not Medvedchuk’s only yacht. Earlier he had a yacht called Romance, which, based on available photos of the interior, shared the extravagant décor scheme favored at Yanukovych’s Mezhyhiria. Even the faucet handles in the form of gold swans were the same, Leshchenko writes.
For Leshchenko, the main question is how did Medvedchuk amass the sums required for such a an acquisition, since he was never known to have invented any unique technology nor to have owned appropriate assets. He concludes that Medvedchuk’s money is rooted in Ukrainian politics.
According to Leshchenko’s sources, Medvedchuk was one of the middlemen in the sale of Vitaliy Haiduk’s shares in the Industrial Union of the Donbas, one of Ukraine’s largest steel groups, to the Russian state corporation Vneshekonombank (VEB). The chairman of VEB’s supervisory board at the time was Vladimir Putin. Much more than a billion dollars were paid, but the seller obtained only part of that sum, Leshchenko writes.
In conclusion, Leshchenko calls on the Russian anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny to investigate if the money of Russian tax-payers allowed Putin’s crony to buy the most modern yacht in the world.
He also points out that, although the Royal Romance yacht is sailing under the flag of Bermuda, Medvedchuk is still a citizen of Ukraine and that he intends to request that Ukrainian authorities determine if Medvedchuk has paid appropriate taxes on the income that allowed him to buy a yacht worth almost 200 million euros.