Seized Russian superyacht to be sold at first auction of Ukraine war

A Russian superyacht seized in Gibraltar after its owner was sanctioned is to be sold off in the first such auction since Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine.

The Axioma, reported to be worth £63m, was detained upon docking in Gibraltar in March after its billionaire owner Dmitrievich Pumpyansky was sanctioned by the UK, EU and US in response to the war.

However, despite calls from governments for the proceeds of seized assets to be used to help Ukrainians, a bulk of the money raised from the sale at next week’s auction is expected to go to JP Morgan, which claims Mr Pumpyansky owes the US investment bank some £17m.

Mr Pumpyansky is the owner and chair of steel pipe manufacturer OAO TMK, a supplier to Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom. In March, the 58-year-old was described by the UK’s foreign secretary Liz Truss as among the “major oligarchs” who are “closest to Putin”.

Dozens of people from “across the world” have so far flown to Gibraltar to inspect the yacht, with many “convinced they’re going to get a bargain”, according to the broker leading the auction on Tuesday.


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