The European Union has imposed sanctions on a Russian oil boss who’s individually alleged by the US authorities to be performing as a “straw man” proprietor of two yachts linked to Vladimir Putin and his interior circle.Eduard Khudainatov served as chairman and chief government of the state-controlled oil firm Rosneft earlier than establishing his personal vitality enterprise, Impartial Oil and Gasoline Firm, which has grown quickly to turn out to be certainly one of Russia’s prime oil producers, with pursuits in extraction, refining and buying and selling.The EU stated the 61-year-old businessman was related to Putin, whose first presidential marketing campaign he helped to organise in 2000, and his shut ally Igor Sechin, who succeeded Khudainatov on the head of Rosneft. It stated he had been blacklisted for “benefiting from the federal government of the Russian Federation” and being “related to listed individuals”. Sechin and Putin have been beneath EU sanctions because the invasion of Ukraine.Khudainatov has saved a low profile in contrast with Russian oligarchs equivalent to Roman Abramovich. Nonetheless, because the invasion he has come to worldwide consideration after being named in a court docket case because the proprietor of two luxurious vessels – the $325m (£260m) Amadea and the $700m Scheherazade. The European sanctions itemizing didn’t reference Khudainatov’s alleged possession of the superyachts.The Amadea is the topic of a authorized battle in Fiji, the place it was seized on 19 April on the request of the US authorities, which claims it belongs to the sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov.A path of offshore corporations and trusts reportedly hyperlinks Khudainatov to the Amadea and to the Scheherazade, which is alleged to have been utilized by Putin. Legal professionals performing for the British Virgin Islands firm that owns the Amadea have instructed the court docket the authorized proprietor is Khudainatov.Nonetheless, in accordance with court docket filings seen by US media, the American authorities has dismissed Khudainatov as a “straw man” who it says is standing in for the actual house owners of each vessels. Fiji’s supreme court docket is about to rule on the case on 7 June.The Scheherazade, which has six decks and two helipads, was seized by the Italian authorities in Might. It had been present process repairs within the port of Marina di Carrara, and police swooped amid issues it was about to set sail. In an announcement asserting the seizure order, the Italian finance ministry didn’t title the proprietor, saying solely that he had ties to “outstanding components of the Russian authorities”.The organisation arrange by the imprisoned Russian opposition chief Alexei Navalny launched a report in March saying it had proof that the Scheherazade belonged to Putin.Each yachts had been reportedly managed and crewed by the Monaco-based specialist Imperial Yachts. The corporate was named in US sanctions on Thursday night time together with its proprietor, Evgeniy Kochman.The US treasury division stated Kochman’s firm “offers yacht-related companies to Russia’s elites, together with these in President Putin’s interior circle”. It recognized 4 yachts “favoured by Putin” – the Nega, the Sleek, the Olympia and the Shellest – that it the Russian chief had “taken quite a few journeys on”, together with as just lately as final yr. The Scheherazade was not named within the assertion.Khudainatov’s oil enterprise has acquired important stakes in corporations concerned within the vitality sector, along with their extraction licences, from the state-owned Rosneft, in accordance with the EU sanctions itemizing. In the previous few years Rosneft has paid $9.6bn to Khudainatov in trade for a corporation that owns an oilfield in Taymyr, it stated.It was not doable to succeed in Khudainatov for remark.