Tamir Sapir, NY Billionaire, pleads guilty to animal trafficking
Tamir Sapir, the New York billlionaire, who owns Ruzial Ltd, a company based in the Cayman Islands, has pleaded guilty to animal trafficking of animal wildlife parts, when his yatch was found at the Port Everglades harbour with elephant's tusks, a mounted tiger head and python hide bar stools on board.
The yatch, M/Y Mystere C.I. arrived from Italy in 2007 and even had a decoration theme of dead animals, from rugs to cigarette cases, to an entire stuffed lion.
Even if these products were not intended to be sold, the fact that they were imported into the U.S is illegal and require permits, which Sapir didn't have.
Sapir is a billionaire, born in the Soviet Union, and now own several office buildings in Manhattan. He pleaded guilty to importing 29 wildlife items, including protected species, but he only received fines of $150,000.
"The illegal trade in endangered wildlife robs directly from our future and the futures of our children and grandchildren," stated Anthony V. Mangione, special agent in charge, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Investigations. "It robs them of the opportunity to see these creatures in their natural environment. People who engage in this type of activity are criminals."
The yatch docked on December 18 2007 with the intent to go on a Caribbean cruise, but once the Cusoms inspector saw what was on board, he called in the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service..
U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta said prosecutors take environmental crimes seriously.
"It's a very important case and we prosecuted it vigorously," he said.
All the parts were estimated to be worth about $100,000, but all items have been seized from the yatch, but not the yatch itself.