Gibraltar Sells Yacht Linked to Russian Oligarch for $37.5 Million

Gibraltar Sells Yacht Linked to Russian Oligarch for $37.5 Million
The Axioma superyacht belonging to Russian oligarch Dmitry Pumpyansky, who is on the EU's list of sanctioned Russians, is seen docked at a port in Gibraltar, on March 21, 2022. (Jon Nazca /Reuters)

A Gibraltar court announced on Tuesday that a luxurious superyacht linked to a Russian billionaire currently under EU and U.K. sanctions was sold at an auction last month for $37.5 million.

The 237.8 feet (72.5-meter) long vessel, Axioma, which had been owned by oligarch Dmitry Pumpyansky, was docked in Gibraltar on March 21 and was subsequently detained by authorities following a complaint filed by U.S. creditor JP Morgan.

The American bank said the yacht’s alleged owner, steel pipe manufacturing company, OAO TMK, owned by Pumpyansky, had reneged on the terms of a €20.5 million loan ($21.7 million).

Gibraltar’s Admiralty Marshal, the branch of the U.K. overseas territory that handles the sale of ships, said an unidentified buyer had been selected.

The sale’s proceeds—$37,500,055—would go towards settling the ship’s debts to creditors, and anyone with additional claims should come forward within the next 60 days, it said in a statement. The court would then decide what to do with any surplus funds, it added.

Pumpyansky, 58, was until March the owner and chairman of the steel pipe manufacturing company, which has supplied Russia’s state-owned energy company Gazprom since 1998.

NTD Photo
Dmitry Pumpyansky attends the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, on June 16, 2011. (Alexander Aleshkin/Epsilon/Getty Images)
NTD Photo
The Axioma superyacht belonging to Russian oligarch Dmitrievich Pumpyansky who is on the EU’s list of sanctioned Russians is seen docked at a port in Gibraltar on March 21, 2022. (Jon Nazca/Reuters)

The Russian oligarch’s net worth was estimated at $2.44 billion prior to the yacht’s sale. He was sanctioned by the EU and U.K. shortly after Moscow’s attack on Ukraine.

Since the war in Ukraine began, Russian-linked yachts have been stuck in several countries including Italy, Spain, and Germany.

Defaulting on Loan Terms

According to court papers reviewed by Reuters, JP Morgan said it lent €20.5 million ($21.7 million) to British Virgin Islands-listed Pyrene Investments Ltd. which was owned by Furdberg Holding Ltd. Furdberg’s owner was Pumpyansky, who acted as guarantor for the loan.

The papers said Pyrene Investments defaulted on the loan terms after Pumpyansky on March 4 transferred his shares in Furdberg to a third party and was then sanctioned, blocking the repayment of the loan.

JP Morgan subsequently requested the Gibraltar government to impound the superyacht—vessels for entertainment classed as more than 100 feet long—and use it as collateral for the loan, the papers said.

The Malta-flagged Axioma—which has a swimming pool, spa, and 3D cinema—attracted 63 bids and was auctioned at a higher-than-expected price.

James Jaffa, a lawyer for U.K. firm Jaffa & Co that specializes in yachts, told the network at the time of the auction that he expected the vessel to sell for less than the value of the JP Morgan loan due to potential gaps in its maintenance and uncertainty about whether Pumpyansky might try to reclaim it eventually.

Jaffa also said that any money left over could be claimed by the ship’s previous owner.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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