The court proceedings regarding the seizure of M/Y Amadea have come to a close as a judge ruled that the vessel can leave Fiji. The stay against the seizure of Amadea was lifted on June 7 by the Supreme Court of Fiji. The President of the Supreme Court Chief Justice Kamal Kumar in his judgment dismissed the application for stay and ruled that Amadea can leave Fiji.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Christopher Pryde said: “The decision acknowledges Fiji’s commitment to respecting international mutual assistance requests and Fiji’s international obligations. The court accepted the validity of the U.S. warrant and agreed that issues concerning money laundering and ownership need to be decided in the court of original jurisdiction, in this case, the U.S. District Court of Columbia. The Amadea has been handed over to U.S. authorities and will now leave Fiji.”
On June 1, the yacht’s registered owner made an application in the Supreme Court for a stay of execution of the court order granted on May 3 to seize Amadea. The following day, the Supreme Court ruled that the vessel’s seizure must wait for the determination of the owner’s appeal. On June 7, the appeal was denied.
The Fijian court initially dismissed the owner's appeal on May 27 and upheld the High Court orders previously granted to the the DPP, but the judgment wouldn't take effect until seven days of its notice to the parties involved.
The U.S. government formally requested legal assistance from Fiji to seize 106.5-meter Lurssen Amadea as a response to Russian sanctions on April 19. On May 3 at 3 p.m., the Suva High Court Justice Deepthi Amaratunga granted the U.S. warrant to seize the vessel.
Fijian police served the court order to Amadea’s captain on May 5 and the yacht was then handed over to U.S. authorities, according to the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions press release.
The yacht’s registered owner filed an application to delay the seizure, but the High Court denied the application on May 6. However, the Court of Appeal ordered the stay to continue until May 18, when a full bench of the Court of Appeal would hear the appeal filed by Millemarin Investments Ltd., the vessel's registered owner, against the decisions of the High Court registering the U.S. warrant.
The seizure order had been in process since April 19 when Pryde, the DPP in Fiji, was authorized to proceed by Fiji’s Attorney General. Suva’s High Court granted the order to restrain the vessel.
Pryde filed an ex parte Originating Summons under the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act in the High Court “seeking orders (i) that the motor yacht Amadea be restrained from leaving Fijian waters until the finalization of an application to register a warrant to seize the property and (ii) that a U.S. warrant to seize the Amadea be registered,” said a statement from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.