Richard Masters will avoid extradition to the US after the Audiencia Nacional high court in Madrid rejected the request from the District of Columbia’s attorney, according to the Majorca Daily Bulletin.
The charges against the Master Yacht’s founder claimed he created front companies that were used to conceal sanctioned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg’s ownership of his yacht, Tango. The charges also claimed that Master Yachts accepted Vekselberg’s money to maintain Tango, despite the sanctions.
Notably, Vekselberg has been on the US State Department’s sanctions list since 2018 due to his support for the Putin regime, while the EU did not impose sanctions on him.
The court and Spain’s Prosecution Office ruled that Masters’ and Master Yacht’s involvement in the yacht’s maintenance did not commit a crime under Spanish law, therefore failing to meet the extradition requirements.
The case of Masters vs USA has drawn eyes from all over the world. On Friday, the 20th of January, the United States Department of Justice announced that they had arrested the well-known superyacht industry figure for allegedly facilitating a sanctions evasion and money laundering scheme.
Masters was originally arrested at Madrid-Barajas Airport but was released on house arrest while awaiting the extradition process judgement.
As the legal proceedings continue, the yacht remains anchored at Palma’s Club de Mar. The seizure of Tango took place in April 2022 following the invasion of Ukraine.
Source : SuperyachtNews.com