Superyacht Seized From Sanctioned Russian Billionaire Sells for Undisclosed Amount

The Axioma becomes the first seized Russian yacht to be sold on the open market.

Russian billionaire Dmitry Pumpyansky is really just your average oligarch. He’s tied to a $2 billion dollar net worth, alleged close ties to Vladimir Putin, a private art gallery, and of course, a 236-foot superyacht with a dozen bedrooms on board. Or at least he did own the yacht, until earlier this year when J.P. Morgan seized it, followed by then auctioning it off on Tuesday.

The reason for the seizure is directly due to international sanctions on Russian oligarchs in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Pumpyansky, who has been identified by the U.S. government as an oligarch in the 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, served as the guarantor of a $20 million loan with JP Morgan when the invasion began. He, along with many other Russian billionaires, was sanctioned shortly after the invasion. As a result, and according to court papers obtained by Reuters, the sanctions ultimately “constitut[e] an event of default,” as it is now legally impossible for Pumpyansky to pay back the loan. As collateral for the defaulted loan, JP Morgan seized the superyacht and brought it to public auction at the Gibraltar Admiralty Court (where the ship was impounded). It’s the first seized Russian yacht actually sold on the open market, rather than just confiscated, since sanctions began earlier this year.

The yacht itself is the Axioma, a 236-foot-long vessel launched in 2013 that was formerly available as a charter ship. As the listing and photos highlight, it has a beach-house style interior designed by Alberto Pinto, and it features a 3D cinema room, multiple jacuzzis, a steam room and sauna, a gym, onboard jet-skis, and an inflatable water slide that stretches from the sun deck to the water itself. It was nominated as a finalist for several 200+ foot yacht awards, which I did not know existed.

The original cost of the yacht was $75 million (and it was going for nearly $550,000 a week during peak season as a charter vessel). According to the Guardian, which spoke with the broker of the auction, there was an “unexpected late surge” of interest from potential buyers who wanted to pick up the Axioma as a “bargain” at auction. According to the broker, 30 people flew into Gibraltar where the vessel was docked to check it out in person before it was sold Tuesday. It’s unknown if anyone did actually get a deal on the Axioma, as it was sold at a sealed-bid auction, but I’m going to wager a guess that if you have to ask, you probably couldn’t afford it anyway.

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