Seized Russian Superyacht Axioma Set for Auction in Gibraltar

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

Published Jul 27, 2022 7:26 PM by The Maritime Executive

Yacht owners who have been hoping to buy a vessel with sanctions in its pedigree now have their very first chance: the upcoming auction of the Axioma, a luxurious vessel owned by billionaire Russian oligarch Dmitry Pumpyansky.

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. 

In March, the Axioma was arrested in Gibraltar after her owner, Russian billionaire Dmitry Pumpyansky, was added to U.S. and UK sanctions lists. Pumpyansky made his fortune from his stake in a Russian pipemaking conglomerate, OAO TMK. Western sanctions have targeted business magnates who have ties to Russia's political leadership, and Pumpyansky appears to qualify: he was personally awarded the Order for Merit to the Fatherland by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2014. 

Unlike other recently-captured Russian yachts, Axioma was seized on behalf of a bank, not a government, and this means that her sale is proceeding relatively swiftly. 

Pumpyansky's holding company, Pyrene Investments, owed $22 million to American bank JP Morgan. As soon as Pumpyansky was sanctioned, JP Morgan could no longer legally accept money from Pyrene for the repayment of the loan. Instead, the bank asked a court in Gibraltar to seize the yacht for a breach of the loan agreement, then auction it off to repay the debt. 

The auction is scheduled for August 23, and a website with more details and an online bidding portal is expected soon.