The Russian megayacht Flying Fox was seen departing Santo Domingo after being docked in the city’s port for nearly a month. The yacht, owned by a Russian oligarch, was being investigated by U.S and Dominican authorities over suspicions regarding its owner, including money laundering and arms trafficking. So far, there has been a great deal of mystery surrounding the vessel, with officials staying quiet over the details of the investigation. Measuring nearly 500 feet in length, the boat is among the biggest ever seen on the Caribbean island, attracting attention from tourists and locals alike.
Earlier this month, the vessel was reportedly raided by local law enforcement agencies in response to a request from the U.S to inspect its contents. The vessel’s owner, Russian oligarch Dmitry Kamenshehik, is accused by the U.S of involvement in various illegal businesses. Valued at around 400 million dollars, the yacht may potentially be tied to money laundering and tax evasion and may be linked to other individuals currently under investigation by U.S officials.
Officials from the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) office also took part in searching the vessel. Pictures emerged from the scene showing a number of police officers making their way onto the boat, alongside military personnel and technical equipment.
As for the Dominican authorities, they have been tight-lipped in revealing details about the investigation. A member of the port’s security team said that “the only thing we know is that the boat departed”, although no one knows for sure what its final destination is. The government, too, has given few comments on the situation. A spokesperson from the President’s office noted that the vessel was detained during the course of the investigation. Because no suspicious activities were found, the boat was presumably free to continue its journey without further delay.
The incident comes at a time when dozens of Russian-owned yachts are being seized across the globe as part of a sanctions deal against that country. However, this case doesn’t seem to be related since the vessel was released shortly after the investigation.
The vessel was docked at the Sans Soucí port in Santo Domingo for nearly a month. During the course of its stay, the yacht became a tourist attraction of sorts due to its impressive size and architecture. That’s why over the past few weeks there has been a lot of media speculation about the boat’s owner as well as the reasons surrounding its detention.
One such sightseer is Eric Rodríguez, who came to see the massive vessel all the way from San Pedro de Marcorís. “This is a unique sight in the Dominican Republic. We are very happy that the boat is visiting our island, but we regret the form in which it does so”
Some of the boat’s unique features include a pool, a private movie theatre, a helipad, as well as an assortment of luxury amenities. Measuring nearly 500 feet in length, the vessel can house dozens of passengers and crew members. However, much of what’s inside the boat remains a mystery, perhaps due to the privacy concerns of its owner. Combined with the fact that he may be involved in dubious activities, it’s not surprising there isn’t a great deal of information available publicly.
Dominican authorities have been proactive in fighting drug and arms trafficking in recent months. Earlier this April, police detained the crew of a Canadian airline after it was found carrying parcels of cocaine.
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