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    Did Zelenskyy buy yachts using U.S. aid dollars? No. That’s false


    Some social media posts falsely claim Zelenskyy bought two superyachts, MY LEGACY and Lucky Me, using foreign aid funds. The yachts are still for sale.

    On Dec. 5, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was scheduled to speak to U.S. senators via video call to make a plea for more emergency aid, but the call was canceled at the last minute, according to reports.

    President Joe Biden has been urging Congress to approve a nearly $105 billion request for funds for the wars in Ukraine and Israel, among other security needs. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the aid package Wednesday.

    Recent social media posts claim Zelenskyy has been using U.S. funds provided to Ukraine for his own personal gain.

    Several posts say Zelenskyy, through his associates, recently bought two luxury yachts called Lucky Me and MY LEGACY. MY LEGACY has a price tag of €45 million, or about $48.5 million, the tweets claim.

    Other posts say Zelenskyy purchased a new yacht with “donations from US/UK/EU taxpayers,” implying that foreign aid funds were used to buy the yachts.

    VERIFY readers Charles and Barbara emailed us to ask if it’s true Zelenskyy bought two yachts with aid money from the U.S.

    THE QUESTION

    Did Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy buy two yachts with U.S. aid money?

    THE SOURCES

    THE ANSWER

    No, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy didn’t buy two yachts with U.S. aid money. The yachts are still for sale.

    WHAT WE FOUND

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy did not purchase yachts with U.S. aid money. In fact, neither he, nor any of his associates, have bought the yachts listed in the viral posts at all. The yachts are still listed for sale.

    Lucky Me is being sold by luxury yacht company BehneMar for €23 million ($24.8 million) and MY LEGACY is still being sold by Burgess for nearly €45 million ($48.5 million). The listings are still active on each company’s website.

    “Burgess can confirm that MY LEGACY is currently for sale with Burgess as the exclusive listing brokerage house. We can confirm that the yacht has not been sold and therefore remains for sale,” a spokesperson for Burgess told VERIFY in an email. 

    VERIFY reached out to BehneMar for comment, but did not hear back from them at the time of publication. A BehneMar spokesperson told the Associated Press that recent claims about the listing and sale of Lucky Me are “totally wrong and false.” In the statement to the AP, BehneMar said that it “can confirm that the yacht has not been sold and is still for sale with BehneMar as the exclusive listing company.”

    SOURCE OF THE MISINFORMATION

    The claims appear to stem from articles published in The Islander, an online European publication, and in The DC Weekly, an online magazine. Those articles cite a YouTube video published by Shahzad Nasir. In the video, Nasir claims he acquired sales agreements proving Zelenskyy used proxies to facilitate the purchase of the two yachts.

    Nasir’s YouTube channel only has one published video – the one making the claim about the yacht purchase. 

    VERIFY took a look at the evidence Nasir points to in his video, specifically the sales forms. 

    The documents appear to be copies of a “Memorandum of Agreement Approved by The Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association.” VERIFY found a template for this form available to  download online.

    The version of the form that Nasir presents as proof is not currently available on the Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association (MYBA) website. Their current forms have a different logo and branding than what is seen in his video claiming to show a recent purchase form.

    Jane Adlington-Brumer, MYBA’s general secretary, told the AP that the documents appear to be pre-2012 versions of a memorandum of agreement “no longer endorsed by MYBA.”

    In response to the Islander’s article, which heavily cites Nasir’s video as proof of the alleged yacht sales, the Islander’s co-founder told the AP that the site “did not state that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy directly purchased the luxury yachts ‘Lucky Me’ and ‘My Legacy.’” He noted that the story “highlighted allegations and connections involving his close associates.”

    The VERIFY team works to separate fact from fiction so that you can understand what is true and false. Please consider subscribing to our daily newsletter, text alerts and our YouTube channel. You can also follow us on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Learn More »

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