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