• May 23, 2010
The Italians don't play when it comes to tax evasion and financial crimes, with a special branch of the army called the Guardia di Finanza solely devoted to busting those who play with numbers. Flavio Briatore is one of the most recent big fish caught in the Guardia's net; his $22-million yacht, Force Blue, was impounded over the weekend off the coast of the Italian Riviera.

The perma-tanned Briatore keeps the yacht registered in the Cayman Islands and claims it's hired out by the week, but Italian authorities contend that Briatore spends a hefty portion of the year on the vessel. In fact, when the dawn raid was carried out, Briatore's wife and son were on board. If customs authorities can prove VAT evasion, Briatore could be on the hook for a fine of $5 million.

Given that Briatore owns and operates a $22-million yacht, he probably won't have a hard time paying the penalty. He shouldn't feel bad either way, since he joins luminaries such as Bank of America, soccer club Juventus, and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il on the list of folks nabbed by the Guardia di Finanza.

[Source: The Mirror]


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  • 30 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      That's an "expedition style" yacht meant to go places others don't, like Antarctica for instance, and be able to take heavy seas. Maintenance and such usually runs at least 10% of the value per year. No prob for Fabulous Flava Flav as he is a billionaire. That thing rents for about $500K a week and that's the story he's been telling to the authorities. He's kind of a slime ball, won't bother me if the make him cough up some dough.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That yacht is 200+ feet long. It's worth a lot more than $22M.
      tusellt
      • 3 Years Ago
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdUpy4O6_0o&feature=player_embedded
      • 4 Years Ago
      For anyone else who was wondering about the Kim Jon Il bit...

      http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2009/07/20/2009072000416.html
      • 4 Years Ago
      . . . polizia molto buona !
      • 4 Years Ago
      @noyyou what an incredibly stupid comment. Your ignorance has no bounds. The rich like Signor Briatore have turned tax evasion into an artform. Don't spout that their taxes pay for us, as you seem to forget it was our taxes that bailed out all the fat cat dumb bankers who almost sent us into another depression. Not only that, as soon as they got their greedy fat fingers on the money they started paying themselves bonuses and buying corporate jets. Now you get your facts strait and curb your superiority complex while you are at it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Meanwhile, in the Prime Minister's office...
      • 4 Years Ago
      if only i had $22 million
      1) lots of exotics
      2) mansion
      3) hot wife/gf/mistress
        • 4 Years Ago
        Make that hot wife & mistresses...
        • 4 Years Ago
        How does this guy earn his money again?
      tusellt
      • 3 Years Ago
      They also work as a border control, being responsible for kerbing illegal immigration, for example, such as the traffic between Albania and Puglia, and work as an anti-drug unit. They're generally regarded as the most ruthless of all the branches of the Italian police, even moreso than the Carabinieri. But to say they deal only with people who "play with numbers" would be false as they're one of the busier branches of the Italian military.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That'll teach him to break the law in Italy without paying off the right officials first.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Small potatoes in the yachting world. Only megayacht guy I admire is Leslie Wexner, CEO of Limited/Victoria's Secret. He constructed the 315' Limitless in 1997. Built in Germany. Still the most gorgeous megayacht ever. Insisted on having it U.S. flagged, and therefore had to juice through an Act of Congress to get her exempted from the Jones Act so she could go from port to port inside the U.S.

      Nice seeing the only megayacht with the Stars and Stripes flying on the stern.

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/21882203@N03/2336060387/sizes/o/

      Check out the size of that deckhand on the aft deck for some idea of the size of these monsters.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Wexner received a Jones Act Waiver from the U.S. Senate, reclassifying what the act deems a commercial vessel (anything over 165 feet) into a "recreational vessel" not subject to the "coastwise trade" restrictions of moving directly between two U.S. ports. Most owners just go the "flag of convenience" way and just don't visit the U.S. When was the last time you saw a megayacht in U.S. waters?

        A pilot program was developed under the Bush Administration to streamline these waivers to encourage foreign yachts be flagged in the U.S. so they could bring their recreational and repair business here:

        http://www.marad.dot.gov/ships_shipping_landing_page/domestic_shipping/small_vessel_waiver/Small_Vessel_Waiver.htm

        I think Wexner's still restricted to 12 passengers and has to have a certain number of U.S. citizens as crew, along with a ton of USCG inspections. That costs money over and above the normal operating costs.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think you have the Jones Act backwards. If you want to carry goods or passengers between two ports in the US, you must be US flagged. Perhaps he needed an exemption from some of the other requirements.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That's an ugly boat for 22 million. It looks like a giant fishing vessel. I guess you have to pay more in the yacht industry to get better exterior looks.

      I would rather have a WHY yacht. Only thing this guy did right was Heidi Klum.
      http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2010/03/03/the-yacht-that-is-a-floating-island/
        • 4 Years Ago
        That boat was originally in fact a giant fishing vessel.
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