A superyacht once owned by a Russian billionaire went up for auction on the British territory of Gibraltar on Tuesday. The ship, whose value is estimated at several tens of millions of dollars, was seized in March as part of Western sanctions against Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.
The Marshal of the Admiralty of Gibraltar was tasked with valuing and selling the yacht, which received 63 offers, according to court documents. Its official appraised value is “a confidential matter that cannot be disclosed”, although outside estimates would place it anywhere between $42 million at $75 million. Details of who ultimately buys the ship and for what price will be made public once the deal is complete.
Measuring 236 feet long and weighing over 1,600 tons, the Axioma is a sight to behold. She can accommodate 12 guests in six cabins – as well as a crew of 20 in 12 other bedrooms – and has a gymnasium, full-service spa, infinity pool and luxury cinema, as shown on the Howe Robinson Partners auction site.
The charter cost the Axioma for a week turns an average of about $500,000not to mention other operating costs, according to Yacht Charter Fleet.
The ship’s former owner is Dmitrievich Pumpyansky, once Russia’s largest steel pipe maker and currently worth $2 billion. according to Forbes. Unfortunately for Pumpyansky, he was sanctioned by Britain and the European Union after the invasion.
Other superyachts owned by Russian oligarchs have been detained following the sanctions, but the Axioma is the first to be sold, the Guardian reported.
Despite calls for the proceeds from the sale to benefit Ukraine, the funds will instead go to JP Morgan Chase. According to the Guardian, the international bank had a loan agreement with Pumpyansky’s holding company, Pyrene Investments.
However, sanctions against Russia prevented JP Morgan Chase from accepting payments from the holding company, violating the agreement, and the bank sued to have the vessel seized and auctioned off.
Other Russian elite-owned superyachts have been detained around the world — including the Amadea, which was seized in Fiji at the request of the United States in May. This $300 million yacht was owned by Suleiman Kerimov, a Russian gold producer worth over $12 billion, according to Forbes.
The fate of the Amadea, however, is uncertain; it too could be sold to the highest bidder, which would be consistent with President Biden’s Goals to hold the Russian oligarchs accountable for their role in the invasion and possibly use the profits to help Ukraine.