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Medvedchuk’s yacht is sailing past Ukraine

ZN.UA Infographics
Medvedchuk’s yacht is sailing past Ukraine © АРМА сайт

Medvedchuk’s yacht, which was arrested in Croatia, may never reach the Ukrainian shore, because in order to keep the arrest, the Ukrainian side must submit appropriate justification to the Croats every three months. The last time we sent such data was at the beginning of March. Time is running out, and the officials of the Asset Recovery and Management Agency (ARMA) responsible for the process of alienating Medvedchuk’s asset are in no hurry. You will be very surprised to find out what they are busy with.

Information about Medvedchuk’s yacht was gladly provided to us by the Prosecutor General’s Office, which is investigating the case against the mentioned collaborator, and by the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Justice, and Prozorro Sale. It’s been almost a year since it became impossible to talk about this case with ARMA’s leadership as these guys fr have been “keeping a low profile.” They probably understand that any communication is more to their detriment than to their benefit. Especially now, when the second week of interviews for the position of permanent head of the Asset Recovery and Management Agency continues, and current Acting Head Dmytro Zhoravovych is one of the candidates. Well, the priorities in his ongoing work are quite specific, and the story with Medvedchuk’s yacht is one of the illustrative examples.

The story of Medvedchuk’s floating assets begins in 2020, when the latter declared the offshore company Fregata Marine Ltd, which owns one of the world’s most expensive yachts –the Royal Romance. The estimated cost of this vessel is USD 200 million.

At the beginning of the full-scale war, the yacht stayed in Croatia, and already on March 16, 2022, the Croatian media reported that the asset of the collaborator had been arrested. According to the information of a source in the Prosecutor General’s Office, the corresponding arrest took place by the decision of the District Court in Split on May 23, 2022, where a “temporary security measure” lasting two years was taken at the request of the competent authorities of Ukraine. In accordance with Croatian legislation, every three months it is necessary to submit to the court justification of the need for further seizure of property. The last time such information was sent by the competent authorities of Ukraine was March 7, 2023. In the absence of proper justification, the court has the right to cancel the arrest.

Interestingly, at the end of last year, the Ukrainian media noted that the yacht was searched by representatives of the American FBI, and immediately added that “the inspection was also carried out by ARMA representatives.” The information about the FBI search was confirmed by the judge and spokesman of the Split District Court, Dinko Mešin. The search warrant itself was issued at the request of the US Department of Justice. But the ARMA’s presence on board does not correspond to reality. Although representatives of the Agency were on the territory of this Balkan country, they did not manage to gain access to the vessel.


Indeed, the management of ARMA came to Croatia, but they were not allowed to board the ship. And instead of calling the Prosecutor General’s Office in Kyiv and trying to resolve something, they simply spent good time “by the sea in restaurants” and quietly returned to Ukraine. Only after returning did the ARMA representatives inform the Prosecutor General’s Office that they were not allowed on the yacht. And then they misinformed the Ukrainian media that they also conducted searches. These folks could only conduct “searches” in their pockets, no more, given their institutional capacity.

By the way, let’s discuss institutional capacity. Considering that Ukrainian legislation does not provide for the procedure for the sale of property that is located abroad or under the jurisdiction of other countries, ARMA has developed a draft of amendments to the relevant government regulations (“On the selection on a competitive basis of legal entities that carry out the sale of seized assets” and “On the approval of the procedure of sale of seized assets on e-auctions”).

In reality, this project envisaged purely cosmetic changes in the current regulations, in fact, “raising” the internal regulations of ARMA to the level of government regulations. No serious changes were foreseen in terms of the sale of property, the existing status quo was simply fixed and extended to property abroad. Will such changes help to qualitatively sell Medvedchuk’s yacht? This is a question to which we may never know the answer.

According to ARMA, it is not legal loopholes that prevent them from selling Medvedchuk’s yacht, but the Ministry of Economy. Indeed, the ministry proposed to finalize this procedure and finally provide for transparent auctions for the sale of ARMA property. In particular, the Ministry of Economy submitted proposals that provided for the following: the extension of qualification criteria regarding the participants of the competition to the organizers of sales auctions, the possibility of holding a competition if there is even one applicant, as well as the possibility of selling assets through Prozorro Sales. Two sales models were also offered, namely: by default, through Prozorro Sales, and in exceptional cases (in particular if the property is abroad) through selected auction organizers.

Basic requirements are defined for both types of sales (regarding the signing of documents based on sales results, requirements for winners, etc.), which will make it possible to minimize possible abuses at auctions. For auction organizers, very detailed and extensive criteria are defined that allow one to check their authenticity, work experience and other indicators that influence the ability to sell assets.

The Asset Recovery and Management Agency still has nothing to do with these changes or any update of existing procedures within the limits allowed by the specific law on ARMA.

Further, this project of amendments should be sent to the Cabinet of Ministers for approval at the next meeting. In which edition and whether the changes suggested by the Ministry of Economy will be considered, we will see at the hearing. But at the moment, it looks like the Ministry of Economy is doing at least something so that Medvedchuk’s yacht ends up in Ukraine, and ARMA is busy with other things.


This body currently focuses on the management of the seized property of the aggressor country, and, in exceptional cases, on the sale of the said assets. All other functionality is practically forgotten. The transfer to management of property belonging to Ukrainian beneficiaries is so to say, on life-support. Out of the three hundred tenders, which Acting Head of ARMA Zhoravovych announced at the interview, they became managers for only a maximum of one and a half dozen. In turn, the issue of tracing assets acquired through criminal means disappeared from sight.

Let me remind you that in the spring of 2022, after the start of a full-scale war, the management of the said institution decided that the implemented functionality could be replaced by military “hype” and created a new multi-series scheme – the sale of Russian property that is under arrest as part of investigations by various law enforcement agencies. Of course, the corresponding “sales”, which took place at a discount, was already considered three times at the meetings of the temporary investigative commission of the Verkhovna Rada (the parliament of Ukraine). And even this hype story worked as long as it was about assets in Ukraine. As soon as it came to foreign ones, work with which requires legislative and regulatory efforts, everything fell apart.

During the interview for the position of the head of ARMA, current acting head Zhoravovych in just a ten-minute report managed to confuse the Odesa oil refinery with the Odesa port, to state that he and his subordinates generated the idea of purchasing military bonds through the sale of seized property, and to manipulate performance data. Meanwhile, he was unable to explain the enlarged staff, great salaries and a fee of UAH 425,000 paid to himself in 2021, and so on.

Therefore, it is unlikely that the management of ARMA will be able to honestly answer the question of why it sabotaged the development of the Procedure for the sale of property under seizure abroad. The procedure, the absence of which, or at least conscious justifications for its absence, in a few days may allow the Croats to let Medvedchuk’s asset float freely. We hope that the government will manage to do what ARMA failed to, because it is not only about a specific yacht. After all, without this procedure, we will not be able to confiscate any of the assets abroad, whether it be real estate, ships, cars, works of art, etc. And it is unlikely that anyone will hold arrests for us for years either.

Read this article in Ukrainian and russian

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