An $81 million yacht linked to a Russian oligarch is about to hit the auction block

March 8, 2023, 5:09 PM UTC
Antigua and Barbuda plan to auction off the Alfa Nero.
VWPICS/Nano Calvo/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

An $81 million yacht, which authorities believe belongs to a Russian oligarch, is about to go up for bids.

Antigua and Barbuda say the vessel, named the Alfa Nero, was abandoned in an Antiguan harbor last February and belongs to sanctioned Russian oligarch Andrey Guryev.

He denies the boat is his, so authorities have posted a public notice giving other potential owners 10 days to come forward. If no one emerges, the auction will commence.

The yacht’s loaded with luxury, including a 39-foot infinity pool, a Jacuzzi, a spa and a helipad. And it was reportedly frequently used by Guryev’s family, the Guardian reported.

The auction is the natural consequence of the rash of seized yachts following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Last year, Gibraltar auctioned off Axioma, a $65 million yacht that was owned by Dmitry Pumpyansky, a sanctioned Russian steel billionaire.

That auction, officials said, drew a “staggering amount of interest,” with more than 115 inquiries and 28 inspections by potential buyers. That yacht eventually fetched 63 bids and sold for $38 million.

Seized yachts from oligarchs were a regular presence in the news last year. The U.S., in June, seized the $325 million Amadea in Fiji. That followed France’s seizure of a $120 million superyacht in March.

Antiguan officials say the auction of the Alfa Nero, which was originally purchased in 2014 for $120 million (according to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control), is being conducted “to prevent a future hazard since the luxury vessel is not being maintained by its owner.”

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