These are the first pictures of the Russian FSB officers who were manning ‘Vladimir Putin‘s £500 million superyacht’ before they all mysteriously vanished overnight – and replaced by an all-British crew, MailOnline can reveal.
They emerged as workmen continued to carry out a lavish dry dock refit of the luxury 460ft vessel called The Scheherazade at the Italian port of Marina di Carrara in Tuscany.
Financial police boarded the yacht earlier this month and took away piles of paperwork amid calls for it to be seized and they are also going through the 40-strong crew list.
Earlier this week allies of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny released details of the all-Russian crew who they claim were all members of the security services and Putin’s personal guards.
They called for the 140m yacht to be impounded as part of sanctions against Putin and they were backed by Ukrainian opposition leader Volodymyr Zelensky when he addressed Italian MPs via video link on Tuesday.
According to an investigation by allies of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, the crew on board The Scheherazade – including Sergey Koblev (left) and Anatoly Furtel (right) – were members of the FSB and FSO – Russia’s security service
Earlier this week allies of Navalny released details of the all-Russian crew – including Sergey Grishin (left) and Sergey Brikalov (right) who they claim were all members of the security services and Putin’s personal guards
Others identified include Alexander Yasko (right) and Vitaliy Belenko (left), who is member of the FSO – the agency that protects Putin and, according to Navalny’s supporters, ‘organises his life’
The list gives the name of each crew member such as Vitaliy Belenko (left) and Alexander Pechurkin (right) as well as their date of birth, nationality and visa number and is topped by skipper Guy Bennett-Pearce, 42, from Taunton, Somerset
The £500m Scheherazade (above), is one of the most expensive superyachts in the world. It is in dry dock in Tuscany. It is believed to be owned by Vladimir Putin, but registered an offshore company called Bielor Assets in the Marshall Islands
According to the Navalny investigation the crew were all members of the Kremlin’s FSB and FSO – Russia’s VIP government protection agency and security service.
The list gives the name of each crew member, as well as their date of birth, nationality and visa number and is topped by skipper Guy Bennett-Pearce, 42, from Taunton, Somerset.
Others identified include Vitaliy Belenko, who is member of the FSO – the agency that protects Putin and, according to Navalny’s supporters, ‘organises his life’.
He is joined by chief officer of second mate Sergei Grishin – who is also a FSO operative – while next on the list is boatswain Anatoly Furtel.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is believed to be the true owner of the 460ft long vessel called The Scheherazade
According to the dossier compiled by Navalny’s team, Furtel’s address is given as Furmanova Street, 10 in Sochi – which is a regional HQ for the FSO – and which according to marine traffic apps was visited by The Scheherazade in the summer of 2021.
The Sochi FSO takes care of Putin while he holidays in the Boharov Ruchey, his lavish summer residence in the city and also the location for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Other FSO officers named are Alexander Khristoforov, whose role on the yacht is given as carpenter, Sergei Brikalov, who is the driver and responsible for the underwater part of The Scheherazade and Alexander Yasko
Also named is boatswain’s mate Alexander Pechurkin,a member of the FSB.
Gregory Alburov and Maria Pevchikh of Navlany’s team, who posted their findings on You Tube, said:’ In total, just on the first two sheets of the crew list, we see 23 people of which almost half are related to the FSO.
‘I can’t think of better proof that this yacht belongs to Putin. Even in Italy, thousands of miles from Moscow, people who are officially listed as Putin’s security guards and personal staff work on it.
‘The same people who take care of Putin in his residences and on his trips, who organise his life, fly together to Italy to work on one of the most expensive yachts in the world.’
The six deck vessel is the 13th largest in the world and has a bow and stern helicopter pads, a swimming pool, a spa complex, beauty salon and lavishly fitted bathrooms complete with tacky gold toilet roll holders.
It is sat in dry dock while it is being refurbished and today took delivery of an £18,000 Ad Notam TV and several pallets of high-quality marble slabs.
Today the superyacht is still sat in dry dock while it is being refurbished – and took delivery of an £18,000 Ad Notam TV and several pallets of high-quality marble slabs, which were pictured being lowered onto the deck by cranes (above)
Putin is believed to be the owner of the vassel, meaning that it could be subject to EU sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine
Officially the owner of the yacht is not known, although Giovanni Costantino, CEO of the Italian Sea Group, who are carrying out the refit has confirmed he is a Russian but will not name him.
While in an interview earlier this month Captain Bennet-Pearce also said the owner was Russian but refused to elaborate further saying he was bound by confidentiality.
Navalny’s team say the yacht is owned by an offshore company called Bielor Assets in the Marshall Islands but the crew list proves her ultimate owner is Putin.
They added: ‘We are sure that in the case of The Scheherazade, it will turn out that the offshore company hidden on the distant islands is also registered to another Putin friend.
‘But what really matters is that the real owner of The Scheherazade is guarded by the FSO. A state department, a security service, Russian civil servants and military officers.
‘For some reason they fly to Italy and work on a yacht. This hypocrisy is the quintessence of Putin.
A gold-plated toilet roll holder is among the luxury goods on board The Scheherszade, Putin’s superyacht which is currently docked in Tuscany
One of the most staggering examples of indulgence on board is a dance floor that lowers to reveal a swimming pool
The lavish seating area is kitted out with sprawling sofas and luxurious lamps, while a piano also appears in the background
As well as the swimming pool, the yacht also has a jacuzzi area for guests to enjoy while aboard the floating palace
‘We demand the immediate arrest and confiscation of The Scheherazade yacht. We demand the disclosure of documents – who, when and how the construction, decoration and maintenance was paid for.
‘Because they paid with our money. Money was stolen from Russian pensioners, teachers and doctors. Money was stolen from soldiers, who get deceived into dying and killing in a Ukraine was that only Putin needs.
‘The Scheherazade is literally made from unbuilt Russian hospitals, collapsing schools, parents dying before their retirement age. Putin promised to explore deep space, develop Russian industry and build a strong innovative economy, but built himself The Scheherazade instead.’
Today Italian financial police said they were still investigating the ownership of the yacht and that as of yet no confiscation order had been issued meaning the yacht could theoretically leave at any time.
Sources at the yard said the Russian crew were ‘spirited away at night in minibuses’ just days after the war broke out last month and replaced by an all British contingent.
Earlier this month US officials said initial investigations revealed the yacht was ‘linked to Putin’ but they refused to reveal any further details.