St. Augustine is home to a Russian billionaire's $7 million yacht.
Igor Makarov's 128-foot yacht, called Areti I, has been in St. Augustine at Camachee Cove for years, a spokesman for his firm, Areti International Group, said.
But the yacht has gained wider attention after Forbes posted an article by staff writer Giacomo Tognini naming Makarov's yacht among over 30 that are owned by Russian billionaires or billionaires born in Russia.
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Who is Igor Makarov?
According to Forbes, Makarov is worth $2.1 billion and founded "Itera, Russia's first independent gas company," which operated out of Jacksonville for more than 20 years. Rosneft bought Itera for $2.9 billion in 2013.
Makarov is now the president of the Areti International Group, (Itera spelled backward) which, according to his website, focuses on "investments in the oil and gas sector … engineering, power supply, real estate development as well as production and supply of food commodities."
The firm is composed of "subsidiaries and affiliated companies with business interests in Russia, Switzerland, the CIS Countries and the Baltic States, United States, Canada, Western Europe, and the Middle East."
Areti International Group released a statement to The Record on Wednesday:
"Areti is an international company based in Switzerland. Like many international companies, Areti maintains offices in numerous business centers around the world, including Switzerland, Cyprus and Russia. At this time, the company is not engaged in any energy or business projects within either Russia or Ukraine. Neither Areti nor Mr. Makarov are or have ever been the subject of any governmental sanctions."
Earlier this month, Politico wrote: "Calgary-based natural gas producer Spartan Delta Corp. … recently had 19.9% of its shares acquired by Russian oligarch Igor Makarov — according to a report in the Financial Post. A billionaire born in the Soviet Union, Makarov was a major player in the Russian oil and gas sector, with ties to close Putin allies Gubarnguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan, and Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus — who has allowed his country to be a staging facility for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. His name appeared on a Treasury Department list of major Russian oligarchs 'close to Putin.' Published in 2018, the list was criticized for cribbing a Forbes report of Russia’s richest individuals."
Areti I is registered in the Cayman Islands, according to Forbes. Forbes used data from VesselsValue in its reporting.
This article originally appeared on St. Augustine Record: Russian billionaire Igor Makarov's yacht docked in St. Augustine