Anatoly Shutov, who hired Ghost 3 from Turkish charter firm GMM, was arrested last week

Following the theft of a US$2m yacht named Ghost 3 from Turkish charter firm GMM Yachting, Interpol has been on the case in search of the thieves.

According to Turkish newspaper Takvim, Anatoly Shutov, who hired Ghost 3 from GMM in Marmaris, was arrested in Moscow last week but the remaining criminals are still on the loose. Investigators have also determined that the criminal group’s leader is Oleg Popilov, a retired Russian navy colonel, and that its financier is Nikandrov Sergei Nikolaevich.

It is said that the gang had been stealing yachts for at least four years and selling them with fake documents in South America. They had been stealing specific yachts based on inquiries they had received and then selling them easilly as they already had the orders.

They had been using the same robbery method in each case and unfortunately only six of the stolen yachts have been found until now.

The group’s modus operandi involved renting a yacht from a charter company with different passports in each case, paying all costs in cash, and then taking out the automatic identification system of the yacht and putting it in a remote control toy boat to make the renters think that the yacht was adrift in territorial waters. Meanwhile, the stolen yacht had already reached international waters.

Over the last two years, the criminal group stole 23 yachts from Italy, 14 from Greece and nine from Crotia. The total cost of the fraud so far is estimated at $100m.