According to Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, a yacht belonging to Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin was seized by French customs as it attempted to sail from La Ciotat on the Mediterranean coast.
The yacht was sailing away in defiance of European Union sanctions against Russian oligarchs.
The move came as Western countries imposed harsh sanctions on Russia, including asset freezes, in response to its invasion of Ukraine.
According to Forbes, German authorities have also seized a separate luxury yacht owned by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, which is valued at nearly $600 million.
The 88-meter "Amore Vero" arrived in La Ciotat on 3 January and was scheduled to stay there until 1 April for repairs, according to a statement from the finance ministry, which also noted that the vessel was subject to the new sanctions.
Customs officers noticed the yacht was "taking steps to sail off urgently, without the repair works being over," according to the statement, and decided to seize it.
The yacht is owned by a company whose main shareholder is Mr Sechin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the finance ministry. It didn't say who the company was.
Imperial Yachts, based in Monaco and linked to Amore Vero according to Refinitivdata, told Reuters that the yacht was owned by a company called Kazimo, which appointed them as the boat's managers in 2018.
When asked about Mr Sechin, a representative for Imperial Yachts told Reuters, "The individual you name is not connected with either Kazimon or the yacht."
They stated, "Kazimo’s lawyers are in touch with French Douane in order to correct the record."
A request for comment from the finance ministry was not immediately returned.
According to yachtcharterfleet.com, the superyacht was built by Oceanco in the Netherlands and delivered to its owner in 2013. Onboard amenities include a beauty salon and a gym.
According to Eikon data, it sails under the flag of the Cayman Islands.
In a tweet, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said, "Thank you to the French customs officers who are enforcing the European Union’s sanctions against those close to the Russian government."
In the port of Lorient, Brittany, French authorities also seized a Russian-owned cargo ship.
Mr Usmanov's 150-meter Dilbar superyacht (pictured above), which has a 25-meter swimming pool, was photographed in Hamburg's northern port, according to Forbes.
According to Forbes, the Dilbar was undergoing a refit in the shipyards of Blohm +Voss, and the German government had frozen the asset, and employees working on the ship did not show up for work yesterday.
The General Customs Office in Germany was unavailable for comment.
Blohm + Voss declined to comment on the Dilbar, saying only that the Luerssen Group and its subsidiaries treated all orders and projects in accordance with the legal situation.
Mr Usmanov's representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment, according to Forbes.
According to a decision published in the EU's official journal, the Russian tycoon and metals magnate, as well as 25 other prominent people, have been sanctioned for Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
According to the Luerssen website, Dilbar is the world's largest motor yacht by gross tonnage, having been delivered in 2016.
The largest pool ever installed on a yacht is one of its recreational facilities.
According to ship tracking data, at least five superyachts owned by Russian billionaires were anchored or cruising in the Maldives on Wednesday, an Indian Ocean island nation that does not have an extradition treaty with the US.
By fLEXI tEAM