Oligarchs Assets

Persefoni I Yacht : Greek Prosecutors Charge Oligarchs in Hydra Fire

Criminal charges for ‘moral complicity in arson’ have been filed by Greek prosecutors against eight passengers from Kazakhstan who chartered Persefoni I yacht. This is in relation to a devastating wildfire that occurred earlier this month.

A fire erupted on Hydra Island, a favored holiday spot south of Athens, on June 21. The fire expanded overnight, incinerating approximately 300 acres of the island’s sole pine forest. This sparked a significant local uproar.

 Kazakh Oligarchs In Persefoni I Yacht Fire Scandal ?

The prosecutors have alleged that the wildfire on Hydra was ignited by either the passengers or crew of the 175-foot superyacht, Persefoni I. At the time of the incident, another ship was anchored nearby. The captain of this ship reported to the Greek media outlet, Aftodioikisi, that he observed the inflatable tender boat of Persefoni I on the shore while the hillside was aflame.

He noted that the individuals on the beach seemed to be gathering items before the tender returned to the yacht. The captain also mentioned seeing crew members in firefighting gear on the bow of Persefoni I, and observed indications of firefighting chemicals in the water close to the shore.

Following the incident, the Persefoni moved to the marina at Vouliagmeni, located just south of Athens. Upon arrival, the vessel was met by the Hellenic Coast Guard and fire safety officials. According to Aftodioikisi, these officials took verbal statements from some of those on board. The eight Kazakh nationals who had chartered the yacht denied any involvement in the fire. They requested to disembark and depart in order to catch their scheduled flight. It was later reported that they left via a private jet, a form of transportation that operates according to the passengers’ own timetable.

Abulgazin said he rented the Persephone I yacht from noon on June 15, to noon on June 22, to organize a cruise for himself and his guests around the islands of Greece. The yacht’s website a week costs 249,000 euros ($267,633.)

The Greek Internal Affairs Directorate has initiated a probe into the coast guard’s action of freeing the charter passengers upon their marina arrival, prior to inspecting the Hydra incident site for proof. A week after the fire’s inception, investigators revisited the site in search of hints and discovered remnants of used pyrotechnic devices on the beach. This found evidence will undergo scrutiny for DNA and fingerprint traces. As per Eirinika, a local news source, the authorities are currently hypothesizing that a handful of individuals, possibly youngsters from the yacht, disembarked using the tender and ignited flares on the beach.

While the passengers were let go, 13 crew members of the yacht were detained and accused of arson. The yacht was also seized. The captain and the chief mate are currently in custody awaiting trial, whereas the remaining crew members have been granted bail.

In a declaration made last week, the skipper of Persefoni I refuted any involvement of those on board in the fire. He stated, “No one on or off the yacht ever used flares, sparklers, or any kind of fireworks. In a pertinent check, all the marine flares were discovered to be untouched. A witness from a passing boat specifically stated in his account that he never mentioned fireworks being set off from the yacht Persefoni I.”

The ship’s manifest showed that Abulgazin’s son and his wife, Aidan Suleimenova, who heads one of Kazakhstan’s biggest charities, were also on board, along with her deputy.

Other guests included Umut Shayakhmetova, CEO of Kazakhstan’s largest financial institution, Halyk Bank, her husband, Beimbet Shayakhmetov, a former top manager of the national oil company, KMG International NV, and their daughter.

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