Several questioned in Croatia over oligarch’s missing yacht

January 27, 2023 GMT

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Croatian police on Friday brought in for questioning several people over the October disappearance of a luxury yacht from an Adriatic Sea marina where it was held under international sanctions connected to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The disappearance of the 35-meter Irina Vu from the marina on the island of Murter was only recently noticed and reported by local media. The yacht reportedly sailed to Turkey and another one was left in its place.

The incident has triggered public criticism of the authorities in Croatia. The luxury vessel was one of five impounded in the country because they belonged to Russia-linked tycoons who came under international sanctions following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The government has replaced officials in charge of coastal security and the Murter marina while also stepping up monitoring of the remaining yachts.

Croatian state TV network HRT said the missing yacht was worth around 5 million euros ($5.44 million.) HRT reported Friday that it belonged to the family of a Russian oligarch with close links to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Croatian police gave no details about the suspects or the investigation. The statement added that officers have been conducting searches in several locations, including the suspects’ homes.

Croatia is a popular yachting destination because of its stunning coastline and hundreds of islands. Local media have also questioned how the yacht could sail all the way to Turkey without being registered and checked along the way.