Admirality & Maritime Law

Law Firm Warns Super-Yacht Owners: Beware of Ship Seizures in Italian Waters


A London law firm has issued a travel-advisory to super-wealthy clients planning to sail their super-yachts into Italian waters.

Due to an apparent crackdown on suspected tax evaders as Italy struggles to deal with a budget deficit, even legitimate vessels under a Cayman Islands flag could be seized there for someone else’s debt, according to the Financial Times (reg. req.).

The seizure last week by the Guardia di Finanza tax police of the Force Blue owned by tycoon Flavio Briatore “is sending shock waves through the super-yacht community,” partner Quentin Bargate of London’s Bargate Murray tells the publication. He provides more information in a memo (PDF) on the firm’s website.

Briatore has told Italian media he expects a swift resolution, and his lawyers say he has done nothing wrong.

It’s customary for super-yachts to be registered in the Cayman Islands under corporate ownership and chartered to individuals, including the actual owner, for tax purposes, the article notes.

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