Gibraltar sells Russian oligarch’s yacht for $37.5 million

Credit: CBSNews
Credit: CBSNews

▶ Watch Video: Russian yacht setting sail from Fiji after U.S. seizure

Gibraltar on Tuesday sold a superyacht belonging to Russian oligarch Dmitry Pumpyansky for $37.5 million following its seizure in March under Ukraine war sanctions, judicial authorities said.

Gibraltar’s Admiralty Marshal, a specialist British maritime court that handles the sale of ships, did not release the buyer’s name.

The 72-metre (236-foot) vessel, MV Axioma, was seized on March 22 following a complaint filed by the U.S. bank J.P. Morgan, authorities in the tiny British enclave at the southern tip of Spain said at the time.

The move came shortly after Pumpyansky — head of TMK, Russia’s biggest manufacturer of steel pipes — was added to the list of tycoons targeted by EU and U.K. sanctions after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Gibraltar’s Supreme Court had in June ordered that the yacht be sold at auction, with the Malta-flagged Axioma attracting 63 bids.

The funds raised will be used to compensate the oligarch’s creditors.

In December 2021, J.P. Morgan granted a loan of 20.5 million euros ($21.7 million) to a company registered in the British Virgin Islands whose shareholders included a Cypriot firm owned by Pumpyansky.

But the bank saw Pumpyansky’s inclusion on Britain’s sanctions list as a breach of the loan contract since it led to the freezing of his assets.

Dozens of yachts allegedly tied to Russian oligarchs have been seized since Russia began its offensive in Ukraine seven months ago. In April, Dutch authorities seized 14 yachts, 12 of which were still under construction. U.S. and Spanish authorities took a $90 million super-yacht docked in Palma de Mallorca with ties to Viktor Vekselberg; and the U.S. also seized a $300 million vessel in Fiji. Italy froze a $700 million mega-yacht linked to “prominent elements of the Russian government.”