Russian Billionaire's Yacht Detained in Gibraltar
A luxurious super-yacht linked to the owner of Russia's largest steel pipe maker, who is currently under British and European Union sanctions, docked in Gibraltar on Monday and was then detained by the authorities.
Western sanctions on Russian oligarchs over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine have triggered an exodus of luxury yachts from Europe in recent weeks, with several heading towards the Maldives, which has no extradition treaty with the United States.
Reuters TV footage showed the "Axioma", believed to be owned by Dmitrievich Pumpyansky, owner of steel group TMK, moored at Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula, flying a Maltese flag.
Britain imposed sanctions on hundreds of Russian individuals and entities last week, enabling authorities to freeze their assets.
Refinitiv data show the 72-metre vessel is owned by a British Virgin Islands holding company called Pyrene investments. An article published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists as part of the Panama Papers leaks names Pumpyansky as a beneficiary of the holding.
Forbes and specialist publication Superyacht Fan also list him as the Axioma's owner.
The Gibraltar government confirmed in a statement that the Axioma had arrived in port after asking permission to enter and "was confirmed to be the subject of an arrest action by a leading international bank in the Supreme Court of Gibraltar".
"The vessel is now subject to arrest by the Admiralty Marshal until further order," it said, without specifying the legal claims from creditors against the vessel or the vessel's owner.
Refinitiv shipping data showed the Axioma left the Caribbean island of Antigua on Feb. 27 and spent the past three weeks crossing the Atlantic before reaching Gibraltar.
Earlier on Monday, a vessel linked to Roman Abramovich, the sanctioned owner of Chelsea football club, docked in the seaside city of Bodrum in southwest Turkey.
(Reuters - Reporting by Jon Nazca, additional reporting by Joan Faus; Writing by Nathan Allen; Editing by Hugh Lawson)