For the first time of its kind, a Russian luxury yacht seized under sanctions related to the war against Ukraine is being auctioned on Tuesday.
The luxury yacht Axioma is docked in Gibraltar and is owned by a sanctioned Russian businessman, the first such sale since governments around the world began seizing Russian-owned luxury ships in the wake of President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine.
British authorities seized the Malta-flagged luxury yacht Axioma in Gibraltar last March after US investment bank JP Morgan said the ship’s owner, Dmitrievich Bombiansky, a Russian billionaire and steel pipe tycoon, owed it more than $20 million in loan repayments. pay.
Before it was approved in March, Bambiansky owned and headed Russia’s largest steel pipe producer. Britain has said Bambiansky is one of the oligarchs “closest to Putin” and has amassed a fortune estimated at more than $2 billion, according to the New York Times.
The bank said the money that Beren Investments, Mr. Pompiansky’s holding company owes him, can no longer be legally accepted after the US, Britain and the European Union imposed sanctions against him.
The bank won a court order in Gibraltar in July, confiscating the yacht and auctioning it off to repay the loan.
The Axioma has five stories and is 240 feet tall.
Equipped with six luxurious bedrooms, an infinity pool, 3-D cinema, gym, jacuzzi and spa, Nigel Houllier, broker at the auction house handling the sale of the ship, How Robinson Partners, did not share the estimated value of the yacht , but said it is expected to It is sold “conveniently in advance”.
The BBC earlier reported that the yacht was worth 63 million pounds, or about $75 million.
A spokesman for the Gibraltar Courts Chamber said what happens to any surplus sale, once the loan has been paid off, is a matter “to be decided by the court”.
The United States imposed a set of strong sanctions on the Russian economy to punish it for the invasion of Ukraine. Now U.S. officials are pushing to ensure those sanctions are effective and close loopholes, press other countries for support and crack down on people who help Russia evade them.
Administration officials say, according to the Wall Street Journal, that the goal of this second phase is to cut off the remaining routes that provide the revenue and imports that President Vladimir Putin needs to continue the war even as Europe continues to quantities of oil and gas from Russia.
This means targeting foreign banks and cryptocurrency platforms that help Russia maintain access to international currencies, seizing bank accounts and corporate assets of blacklisted oligarchs, and punishing foreign companies caught smuggling controlled goods into the country export.
And also to try to persuade countries like China and India, which have not joined the Western economic pressure campaign, to rein in the money and exports that continue to flow into Russia.
Intelligence officials at the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security are hunting companies that supply Russia with financial services and goods such as semiconductors and weapons banned by new export controls, according to the paper.
Earlier this month, the Treasury Department sanctioned a Russian financial institution called JSC Promise Industrial and Infrastructure Technologies, accusing it of being a front for the previously sanctioned Russian Direct Investment Fund.
On the same day, the Commerce Department banned U.S. companies from doing business with 25 planes owned by Aeroflot and Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, including refueling, servicing or supplying them with parts.
The US Treasury also recently imposed sanctions on a company registered in Hong Kong called EMC Sud Ltd. , which he says was used by a former Russian agent to acquire technology for Moscow’s intelligence services.
The Treasury and Justice departments created task forces called KleptoCapture and REPO for Russian elites, proxies and oligarchs – to track down, freeze and seize the assets of blacklisted Russian oligarchs. Federal prosecutors sought to seize a Boeing 787-8, a Gulfstream G650ER owned by Abramovich, and an Airbus jet and a $300 million yacht owned by two sanctioned Russian politicians.
The European Union and the United Kingdom imposed sanctions on Abramovich, while the United States did not, but found the plane deserving of confiscation based on violations of U.S. export controls.
The administration views these assets as a potential source of funding for Ukraine’s budget needs and eventual reconstruction.