A seized mega yacht allegedly belonging to a Russian oligarch held 30 paintings by famous artists collectively valued at GBP 4.4 million, say investigators.
The 156-metre-long ‘Dilbar’ is being held at the Luerssen shipyard in Bremen after German authorities froze it in Hamburg in March in response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Ownership of the vessel – worth EUR 550 million (GBP 479 million) – has been traced to Russian oligarch and Putin confidant Alisher Usmanov, 69, who denies any links.
An investigation has now revealed that several astonishing art masterpieces were once on board the mega yacht.
Investigators say these include around 30 paintings by acclaimed artists and collectively worth an estimated EUR 5 million (GBP 4.4 million).
One is reported to be a work by legendary Belorussian-born French painter Marc Chagall.
The probe began in late September when investigators from the Federal Criminal Police Office and the tax investigation department arrived at the Luerssen shipyard to inspect the seized vessel.
During the probe, they also searched a forwarding agency in Hamburg, where they came across the artworks, which were packaged in wooden boxes.
The artworks are said to have been on board the Dilbar and were apparently put into storage when the ship docked in the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg for an overhaul at the end of last year.
Usmanov is now being investigated by the Munich II public prosecutor on suspicion of tax evasion.
The prosecutor believes the sanctioned billionaire was liable for a tax bill in Germany.
The mining magnate is also being investigated by the public prosecutor’s office in Frankfurt for suspected money laundering.