A yacht management and brokerage company with headquarters in Monaco has been thrown into the spotlight as speculation grows over the ownership of the Scheherazade, currently moored in Italy and reputed to belong to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

Officially, Scheherazade’s registered owner is Bielor Assets Ltd, a company registered in the Marshall Islands, and the boat is flagged in the Cayman Islands. Neither jurisdiction is renowned for its transparency.

The yacht management company, Imperial Yachts, whose CEO is Evgeniy Kochmam, started out in 2005 and was first established in Moscow before opening a base in Monaco, at Ermanno Palace, 27 blvd. Albert 1.

Putin’s purported super yacht Scheherazade was constructed by the German firm Lürssen under Imperial Yachts’ management. A spokesman for Imperial told the UK’s Daily Mail that the company is not operationally responsible for the Scheherazade, but only supervised construction.

“As a company we comply with all applicable relevant law and regulation in all jurisdictions in which the company operates,” a spokesman said in a statement to the daily.

According to Reuters, Imperial Yachts managed the Amore Vero, the yacht belonging to Russian oligarch and Putin ally Igor Sechin that was seized three weeks ago near Marseille. An industry source told MailOnline that “ninety percent of the Russians have Imperial manage their boats.” 

Imperial’s website states: “Our dedicated in-house Crew Administration department also takes care of all administrative tasks required to manage the employment of the seafarer. Imperial manages over 800 crew members on a daily basis and retains a 98% satisfaction rate.”

Meanwhile, there have been reliable reports that the mostly Russian crew of Scheherazade have left the ship and the replacement crew is entirely British. The boat’s British captain, Guy Bennett-Pearce, has said that he is sworn to secrecy about who owns the vessel, which accommodates 18 guests with a crew of 40. Among its other features are two helipads, a swimming pool, and a hospital suite.

PHOTO: Scheherazade boasts a long table