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HomeYachtsYachts NewsSergei Naumenko, Owner of PHI, Unsuccessful in Appeal Against Yacht's Detention

Sergei Naumenko, Owner of PHI, Unsuccessful in Appeal Against Yacht’s Detention

Sergei Naumenko, the owner of Phi, has lost an appeal to have his motoryacht unfrozen by the British government. The superyacht therefore remains docked in London.

The Court of Appeal ruling indicates that the UK Foreign Office never claimed Naumenko was “involved” in activities against Ukraine. Neither, the court continued, had he “obtained a benefit” from supporting the Russian government. Despite this, there are “likely direct and indirect links between Mr. Naumenko’s wealth, economic activities, and the Russian state.” Additionally, “it is rational to consider that he is the sort of individual on whom sanctions could effect the ‘broad and deep impact’ which Parliament intended via the ‘connected with Russia’ powers in, at least, weakening their tacit support for the regime.”

Notably, however, the High Court did criticize Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary when the government initially detained Phi. In March 2022, Shapps announced the move via social media, accusing Naumenko of having ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the ruling today, the justices indicated that this “ought not to have been said.” The lawyer for Naumenko had argued that the detention of the 192-footer (58.5-meter) might have been a publicity stunt for Shapps.

the UK is detaining Phi under suspicion of the superyacht belonging to someone close to Putin
PHOTO: National Crime Agency

Naumenko’s lawyer further had argued that the detention amounted to targeting any wealthy Russian national, even if the person “has no power, or influence, or connections, and has done nothing to endorse the regime or its policies.”

Today’s ruling “once again validates our decision to detain the Phi superyacht,” according to a spokesperson for the Transport Department. “We’ll continue to act where necessary to crack down on those benefitting from Putin’s regime and their illegal war.”

The appeal follows the owner losing a lawsuit against the UK government last July. That suit, too, claimed unlawful detention and that Naumenko had no connection to Putin.

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