The Gibraltar government will sell a €76.5 million luxury yacht owned by the Russian minority government, which was confiscated due to sanctions, at a public auction by the Gibraltar government on Tuesday. It is the first yacht sold since the sanctions imposed on hundreds of wealthy Russians after the invasion of Ukraine.
However, the 72.5-meter Axiom is being sold not for the benefit of the Ukrainian people, but for the benefit of an American investment bank, JP Morgan. This bank claims that billionaire Dmitry Pompiansky, the wealthy owner of the yacht, owes them more than 20 million euros.
The ship, which includes six luxury rooms, a swimming pool, a 3D cinema room, gym, jacuzzi and full-service spa, has been detained after it docked in Gibraltar in March.
Pompeiansky, the owner of a steel pipe production company that supplies Russia’s state energy company Gazprom, has been subject to sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine by the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United States. The United Kingdom said the billionaire, whose fortune was estimated at 2.17 billion euros, was “closest to Putin”.
While dozens of luxury yachts have already been seized from oligarchs around the world, Axiom is the only yacht for sale. The UK and other governments have proposed confiscating the assets of the sanctioned oligarch and using them to help Ukrainian refugees, but this will not happen.
The bank demanding the money, JPMorgan, said the fact that the billionaire was being sanctioned meant that the terms of the loan had been violated. JPMorgan has asked the Gibraltar court to seize and sell the yacht.
The bank did not respond to press inquiries about whether it would donate some of the money from the sale to Ukrainian refugees, but a spokesperson said: “JPMorgan has increased charitable pledges from $5 million to $10 million to help alleviate the worsening crisis. The refugee crisis in Ukraine.
Nigel Holler, real estate agent for the High Court of Gibraltar, is leading the auction. He said there had been an “unexpected late wave of potential buyers” and that more than 30 had flown to the area to inspect the yacht in person. “They are people from all over the world,” Holler told the British newspaper Watchman. “They are people who own or own boats of the same size and are drawn to this boat because of the legal sale process. They are convinced they will get a deal.”
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