Live News Updates: Russian oligarch’s seized superyacht auctioned to repay JP Morgan debt

Axioma, which was impounded in Gibraltar in March, was sold to JP Morgan to repay a 20.5 million euro loan tied to the ship © Reuters

The first superyacht to be sold after being seized from a Russian oligarch sanctioned following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine attracted 63 bids at an auction in Gibraltar, auctioneers said.

The Axiom, a 236-foot luxury yacht owned by Russian billionaire Dmitry Pumbiansky, has been sold by order of Gibraltar’s Admiralty Court to repay a 20.5 million euro loan tied to the ship to JP Morgan.

The yacht, valued at €55mn-€60mn, was seized in March in Gibraltar, a tiny British territory at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, as authorities around the world sanctioned Russian-owned luxury yachts.

Pumpyansky, the former owner of OAO TMK, Russia’s largest steel pipe maker, was sanctioned by the EU and the UK in March when British authorities described him as one of the oligarchs close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The UK estimates his net worth at £1.84bn.

The auction attracted 63 sealed bids by Tuesday’s deadline, said broker Nigel Hollier of Howe Robinson. A final decision on the winning bid is expected to be reached by Monday in consultation with Gibraltar’s Admiralty Marshal, but the identity of the new owner will not be disclosed, Hollier added.

Axiom, originally named Red Square, has a glass elevator, an infinity pool and a 3D cinema, among other amenities. It previously fetched up to €635,000 a week for charter.

According to court documents cited by Reuters, JP Morgan won a court order in Gibraltar allowing Pumbiansky to sell the boat after he defaulted on a 20.5 million euro loan to an investment firm he owns.

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