Fire in Greece: Luxury Yacht, Kazakhstani Oligarchs' Vacation Scandal

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On the morning of June 23, news emerged that 13 tourists from Kazakhstan accidentally started a fire on the Greek island of Hydra. They were launching fireworks from a luxury yacht. Orda has looked into the matter.

What Happened?

The Guardian reported that, on June 23, 13 people appeared before a Greek public prosecutor over charges of causing the blaze. The fire engulfed the only pine forest on the island of Hydra. Its cause was fireworks launched from an elite yacht carrying a group of tourists. The fire was extinguished on June 22 with the help of six helicopters and two fire brigades. It had already engulfed an area of ​​approximately 1.2 thousand hectares of forest.  

Media reports described the passengers as Kazakh citizens. The nationality of the crew members also onboard the Persefoni I – a 53-metre-long (176ft) luxury superyacht chartered for €299,000 (£253,000) a week in the high season – remained unclear, writes The Guardian.

The 13 crew members would later turn out to be Greek nationals.

Authorities in Hydra, a popular resort among wealthy tourists, have already announced that they will demand compensation from the suspects. Charges of arson and environmental damage carry severe penalties: prison sentences of up to 20 years and fines of up to €200,000. 

What was destroyed was an absolutely beautiful pine forest, and on the night in question, because of the winds, fireworks were banned. To use them was utterly irresponsible, said the mayor of Hydra, Giorgos Koukoudakis.

Where And How Much?

The prosecutor's office demanded the yacht be confiscated, thus revealing its name. The yacht is a 54-meter luxury leisure boat dubbed “Persephone I.” 

Orda.kz has collected information about the vessel. We have learned that this ship is very popular among lovers of luxury holidays on the Aegean coast. The relatives of Kazakh oligarchs are among them as it turns out.

The Mariotti company built the Persephone in 2012. Mariotti is one of the most famous shipbuilding companies, founded in Genoa in 1928. 

 Yacht "Persephone I". Screenshot of the website Nextyachting.com

In 2021, the yacht changed its owner. It was renovated, decorated with works of art, and received its current name, “Persephone,” from ancient Greek mythology. The ship is currently flying Malta's flag.

The yacht can be rented for a week for 250 thousand euros.

Persephone can travel up to 5,000 nautical miles without refueling. The yacht has six cabins for 12 passengers and space for 11 crew members. 

In the “high season,” the rental cost can reach 300,000 euros.

Liability?

According to an Orda.kz source, the yacht was rented by an influential Kazakhstani businessman. One can, therefore, assume there were other citizens of Kazakhstan on board. They have already left Greece and faced no official charges. Indeed, an OCCRP report indicates that guests on the yacht included seven citizens of Kazakhstan. Journalists obtained a manifest. Daniyar Abulgazin was among them.

Meanwhile, 11 crew members have been released on bail. According to Reuters, Greek authorities have kept the captain and first officer in custody. Reuters also reported that a legal source said there was insufficient evidence to link the crew with the case. The captain was the first person to alert authorities about the fire. 

We calculated how many years the average Kazakh citizen with a salary of 380 thousand tenge would have to work to rent the Persephone I yacht. They could afford a week after 27 years at the most lenient prices.

Original Author: Nikita Drobny

DISCLAIMER: This is a translated piece. The text has been modified, the content is the same. Please refer to the original piece in Russian for accuracy. The text has been updated to reflect the current situation as of 27/06/24. The original article was posted on 24/06/24.