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Art

US officials allegedly seize Fabergé egg from Russian oligarch's $300m yacht

US officials have allegedly seized a Fabergé egg from a $300m yacht owned by a Russian oligarch, according to US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco.

The yacht belongs to Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, who is reportedly worth $13.1bn. Monaco said the seize is part of officials “going after and exposing the incredible corruption that has propped up Putin’s war machine” which “enable the unprovoked and really horrendous aggression in Ukraine”.

The 350ft Amadea yacht was seized in Fiji in May at the request as part of its Task Force KleptoCapture aimed against Russian oligarchs, and after a ruling by the island’s Supreme Court, it was transported to San Diego.

Speaking at the annual Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, Monaco discussed the seize. “Let’s get to the juicy stuff, the yachts,” she began her speech by noting. Monaco revealed they are “working with our law enforcement counterparts around the world to conduct searches on these yachts”, and she also announced they plan to send the proceeds to Ukrainian refugees.

“We’ve been finding really interesting things,” she said of the yacht and went on to reveal they have discovered “a Fabergé, or alleged Fabergé egg” on the yacht now in San Diego, “so it just gets more and more interesting”.

Authenticity checks will have to be carried out on the item, and Tony Faber, the author of the book Fabergé’s Eggs, believes it is likely to be fake. He told CNN, “The likelihood that it’s real is pretty small, I think, probably. That’s to say there are 50 of these eggs made, and they are fabulous, you know, these wonderful examples of creativity, of luxury as well, these links to the decadent Romanovs and their court, but there are only 50 of them, and we know where 43 of them are.”

He continued: “I don’t think that it’s likely to be one of those 43, so then we’re down to the seven missing ones, that have been basically missing since the revolution.”