UK government sanctions owner of Heesen Yachts

Alasdair Whyte
By Alasdair Whyte April 14, 2022 17:54

UK government sanctions owner of Heesen Yachts

The UK government has sanctioned Vagit Alekperov, who owns Heesen Yachts. Alekperov is subject to a UK travel ban and asset freeze.

Alekperov bought the yard in 2008 from its founder. He owns the yard through a series of holding companies.

“Heesen is a Dutch company qualifying as a large (so-called) structure-company, which means that we are managed by a professional Management Board with an independent Supervisory Board, which appoints the Management Board members,” said Heesen in a statement. “Heesen only reports directly to its sole shareholder, Morcell Ltd. Heesen’s UBO [ultimate beneficiary owner] does not actively or directly manage our business in any capacity. We are financially independent and in good shape, with a strong order book, and currently employ around 1,000 individuals in the Netherlands.”

The UK has now sanctioned more than 100 oligarchs. Not all of these have been sanctioned by the US or EU. Roman Abramovich, the owner of Eclipse and other yachts, has been sanctioned by the EU and UK and but not the US, for example.

Alekperov is a major shareholder in Lukoil, Russia’s second largest oil company. Lukoil is one a few Russian companies to call for an end to what it called: “The ongoing tragic events in Ukraine.”

Heesen has also spoken out in a statement saying: Heesen’s management and employees are saddened by the ongoing situation in Ukraine and our thoughts are with its citizens and all those affected. We condemn violence in every form and hope for a fast resolution of the war.”

Two Russian directors resigned from Heesen’s board at the start of the war.

UK sanctions are not as far reaching as US sanctions, but it could be difficult for UK lawyers or advisers to work for the yard. Although it is possible to ask for approval.

As well as the named individual, UK sanctions also apply to an entity owned or controlled directly by the sanctioned individual where: they hold more than 50% of the shares or voting rights; has the right (directly or indirectly) to appoint or remove a majority of the board of directors of the entity; and it is reasonable to expect that the person would be able in significant respects to ensure that the affairs of a company are conducted in accordance with their wishes.

Forbes says that Heesen Yachts is owned by a Cyprus-based holding company Morcell Ltd. Morcell is owned by another Cyprus-based firm, Vela Investments Limited, which is owned by Verona Trust in Guernsey. The Verona Trust is owned by Alekperov and his family.

 

Full Heesen statement, April 13th 2022

“Heesen Yachts has today been informed that its Ultimate Beneficial Owner has now been listed on the sanctions list of the United Kingdom following a recent update on 13 April 2022. 

Heesen is a Dutch company qualifying as a large (so-called) structure-company, which means that we are managed by a professional Management Board, with an independent Supervisory Board which appoints the Management Board members. 

Heesen only reports directly to its sole shareholder, Morcell Ltd. Heesen’s UBO does not actively or directly manage our business in any capacity. We are financially independent and in good shape, with a strong order book, and currently employ around 1,000 individuals in the Netherlands.

 Earlier in March this year, following the developments of the war against Ukraine, 

Heesen’s current UBO publicly called for an end to the conflict, while Heesen Yachts’ supervisory board members Pavel Novoselov and Pavel Sukhoruchkin stepped down from their positions to further emphasise the shipyard’s independence and Dutch nature. 

Heesen’s management and employees are saddened by the ongoing situation in Ukraine and our thoughts are with its citizens and all those affected. We condemn violence in every form and hope for a fast resolution of the war. 

Heesen has always worked closely with the authorities adhering to all relevant laws and regulations, and we are cooperating in full transparency with government agencies.

Our international clientele consists of customers of American, European, Middle Eastern and Asian origin. Our craftsmen are constantly working to deliver the high-quality technological yachts for which our country is renowned and will continue to do so.”

Alasdair Whyte
By Alasdair Whyte April 14, 2022 17:54