Winning Bid for Auctioned Russian Megayacht Came In at $37.5 Million

Axioma in her pre-2020 white livery (Dunya Yachts)

Published Sep 28, 2022 2:16 PM by The Maritime Executive

After an "enhanced due diligence process," Gibraltar's Admiralty Marshal has confirmed the winner of the auction for the seized Russian megayacht Axioma, which was put on the block last month. The top bid came in at $37.5 million - about half of Axioma's estimated market value.

The terms of the sale were as-is, where-is, and the lucky buyer has not been named. 

Axioma's case was unique among sanctioned Russian yachts. She was seized on behalf of creditor JP Morgan, not on behalf of a law enforcement agency, and her sale proceeded in the same manner as for any vessel arrested for unpaid debts. From detention to auction to final sale, the full process took about six months - far faster than the multi-year disputes  expected for government-seized megayachts in the U.S., Germany and elsewhere.

Axioma is a $75 million, 236-foot superyacht built in 2013. She has accommodations for 12 passengers and 20 crewmembers, and her interior was created by the well-known yacht designer Alberto Pinto. At a cruising speed of 14 knots, she has a range of about 5,000 nautical miles. Her operating budget is not for the economy-minded shipowner: According to journalists who spent time aboard her in 2016, food expenditures alone could run to $150,000-plus per week during a charter, plus another $20,000 for fuel (at the prevailing prices of the time). 

In March, the Axioma was arrested in Gibraltar. Her owner, Russian billionaire Dmitry Pumpyansky, had been listed for U.S. and UK sanctions in connection with the invasion of Ukraine. Among other effects, his listing meant that he could not legally repay a $20 million mortgage on the yacht, and JP Morgan petitioned for the arrest and sale of the vessel to satisfy the loan. 

The majority of the sale will go to repay the bank, and any other creditors have 30 days to file for repayment from the balance remaining. Any leftover funds will be frozen until sanctions on Pumpyansky are lifted.