Putin’s $1 Billion Superyacht With “Gold Bathrooms” Gets Lavish Refit While Impounded On Italian Coast

This particular refit left us with rather a bitter aftertaste.

Putin’s $1 Billion Superyacht With “Gold Bathrooms” Gets Lavish Refit While Impounded On Italian Coast


The war in Ukraine may be raging on, but that hasn’t stopped Russia’s infamous leader from keeping his $1 billion yacht in ship shape…

While the prized possession of his close friend and colleague, Andrey Guryev’s Alfa Nero superyacht, endured a seemingly never-ending saga — abandoned in Antigua at the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine conflict before gathering extremely expensive dust for several months and ultimately enjoying a  $98 million AUD sale to a tech CEO — Vladimir Putin’s own superyacht seems to be fairing rather better, having just enjoyed a multi-million-dollar refit while impounded off the Italian coast.

It’s fifteen months since Italy impounded the Scheherazade, a $1 billion (~$700 million USD) superyacht allegedly linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Despite being confined to the Tuscan port of Marina di Carrara, Italy has permitted the yacht’s owner — whose identity remains technically undisclosed — to not only cover staff and maintenance expenses but also embark on an opulent refit, as reported by the AFR.

WATCH: Ever wondered how much it costs to refuel a yacht like this?

With its golden-plated bathrooms, 22 guest cabins, two helicopter decks, and luxury spa, the 140-meter Scheherazade is receiving its lavish makeover courtesy of the Milan-listed Sea Group despite the yacht and any other assets therein being frozen by authorities. The government Agenzia del Demanio, responsible for managing seized assets, acknowledged that they had agreed, along with the finance ministry, to allow the owner to pay for “maintenance works.” However, further details were withheld…

The owner of the Scheherazade has remained a subject of speculation. Informants in Rome and Brussels suggest that the owner might be Eduard Khudainatov, the former CEO of Russian state oil company Rosneft. Italy has never officially identified the owner but it was revealed that there was:

“Evidence of meaningful economic and business connections with prominent elements of the Russian government subject to EU sanctions.”

Italian Government Spokesperson

However, Bloomberg reported last year how US officials alleged that Mr. Khudainatov was the “straw owner” of two yachts, acting on behalf of Mr. Putin. Adding more intrigue to the mix, researchers allied with famous opposition activist Alexei Navalny claim that the Scheherazade’s true owner is none other than Russian President Vladimir Putin himself. Their suspicions were aroused when several crew members onboard the yacht were associated with the Federal Protection Service, responsible for Mr. Putin’s security.

The European Union has imposed sanctions on almost 1900 Russians and their associated entities since Russia’s first invasion of Ukraine in 2014, freezing all assets as well as attempting to restrict their travel within the bloc. These assets remain frozen and will be released if the sanctions are lifted. Among the list of Russian assets seized in Italy, the Scheherazade stands out as the only item whose owner remains a supposed mystery, described in official documents as follows:

“Superyacht Scheherazade sailing under the Cayman Islands flag with a value of around €650 million.”

EU Seizure Documents

While we normally revel in the world of luxury that superyachts provide here at DMARGE, this particular refit left us with rather a bitter aftertaste: as a brutal war rages on and Ukrainian women rally to show their strength, it speaks to the total selfishness of a leader who feels it fit to remodel his already lavish yacht while thousands lay down their lives at his command. Here’s to peace, love, and a long-overdue sale of this vessel.