Oligarch’s seized superyacht to be sold to highest bidder


The superyacht belonging to sanctioned Russian oligarch Dmitry Pumpyansky will be sold to the highest bidder at a judicial auction in Gibraltar. Axioma will be the first seized yacht belonging to a sanctioned individual to be publicly sold since sanctions were imposed earlier this year.

The vessel was seized in the British overseas territory in March after JP Morgan declared a default on the oligarch’s $20m loan to finance the yacht. Due to the nature of the sanctions, Pumpyansky is unable to fulfil the agreed-upon payments to the private bank, and so the 235ft (73m) yacht has gone to a judicial auction to clear the debt.

Leading the auction for the Supreme Court of Gibraltar, is Nigel Hollyer, partner, Howe Robinson Partners. “There has been a huge amount of interest from all over,” he told Superyacht Investor (SYI). “Some interest has been from some questionable individuals who believe they are going to be getting some sort of bargain. Which is just not the case.

“There are some serious potential buyers, with extensive experience in yacht ownership, that have made their interest known,” he said.

There are contradicting figures in various publications as to the vessel’s worth and potential sale price. “Those figures are rubbish,” said Hollyer, referring to an article presented to him by a colleague. “Where are they getting this information from? I don’t know how much the vessel is worth exactly. My personal valuation, I would estimate it to be between $30m and $40m, but you can’t be sure.”

According to the British foreign office, Pumpyansky, the owner and chairman of steel supplier OAO TMK, has an estimated net worth of $2.16bn (£1.84bn). His soon-to-be sold yacht was previously a popular vessel for charter. It was available for around $0.5m  a week, depending on the season.

“The yacht does need quite a bit of work,” said Hollyer. “It has been chartered successfully for several years. These things will be all factored into the price and sale of Axioma.”

While it is unclear who will be the beneficiary of the sale, the funds raised are likely to be left in escrow for the time being, as sanctions rules will not allow for the transfer of funds to a sanctioned individual.

The sealed bids auction is set to close at 1300 local time (1100 GMT) today, August 23rd. “We are going to be extremely busy tomorrow, I’m sure. And we will definitely be messed around by some cowboys who want a cheap deal on a superyacht,” concluded Hollyer.

JP Morgan declined to comment on the auction.