A Fabergé egg is allegedly among the items seized from the $300m superyacht of Russian oligarch Suleiman Kerimov, though experts remain hesitant about its authenticity.
The discovery was announced by US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco at the annual Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. “Let’s get to the juicy stuff, the yachts,” Monaco said. “We’ve been finding really interesting things,” such as “a Fabergé, or alleged Fabergé egg” on Kerimov yacht, now docked in San Diego.
A photograph of the egg is yet to be released, deepening the mystery around its discovery.
Monaco further explained that US federal officials were focusing on “going after and exposing the incredible corruption that has propped up Putin’s war machine” and that “enable the unprovoked and really horrendous aggression in Ukraine.”
Kerimov’s $300m, 350ft Amadea yacht was seized in Fiji in May, at the request of the US Department of Justice. It was transported to San Diego after a June ruling by the island nation’s Supreme Court. Kerimov, now 56, is a gold magnate and Russian senator whose family is worth an estimated $13.1bn, according to Forbes. He is also known for a 2006 car crash in a $650,000 Ferrari in Nice, which left Kerimov seriously injured.
Fabergé eggs are incredibly rare and some experts are doubtful the discovery could be real. Tony Faber, the aptly named author of the book, Fabergé’s Eggs (2008), told CNN, “The likelihood that it’s real is pretty small, I think, probably. That’s to say there are 50 of these eggs made, and they are fabulous, you know, these wonderful examples of creativity, of luxury as well, these links to the decadent Romanovs and their court, but there are only 50 of them, and we know where 43 of them are. I don’t think that it’s likely to be one of those 43, so then we’re down to the seven missing ones, that have been basically missing since the [Bolshevik] revolution.”
The London-based Fabergé dealer Andre Ruzhnikov also seemed sceptical, but said no conclusions could be made until a photo was released. “There is not a single Fabergé egg that can be bought on the market today,” he went on. “There haven’t been Imperial Fabergé eggs on the market for 18 years, since the sale of the collection to [Viktor] Vekselberg in 2004.”