The 72-metre-long superyacht Axioma. / REUTERS

The winning bid for the Russian-owned megayacht seized in Gibraltar was well below estimated market value

The name of the new owner has not been revealed but they must be delighted to have picked up a bargain at the auction

DEBBIE BARTLETT Gibraltar

The winning bid for the luxury megayacht Axioma, which went to auction last month, has been revealed although nobody is saying who the new owner is. The 72-metre-long ship was sold for 37.5 million dollars, well below its reported market value.

The Axioma was put to auction after being seized by the Gibraltar authorities in July at the request of JP Morgan Chase & Co investment bank. The Gibraltar Supreme Court upheld the bank's claim that the yacht should be seized because its beneficial owner, Russian billionaire Dmitry Pumpyansky, was unable to meet the repayments on a 22-million-dollar loan. This was not by any means due to a lack of funds, but because the businessman was on the list of sanctions after the invasion of Ukraine and his assets had been frozen, so the bank was unable to accept any repayments from him and it therefore considered he had defaulted on the debt.

In total, 63 sealed bids were placed for the Axioma, which was being sold on a "as is, where is" basis. The condition of the megayacht, which was launched in 2013, is unknown.

The new owner is presumably delighted to have picked up a bargain, as the luxurious vessel is large enough to accommodate 12 guests and 20 crew in great comfort. It was custom built and Pumpyansky is believed to have been the only previous owner.

As for the proceeds of the sale, it has been reported that the balance after JP Morgan has been paid and Gibraltar's expenses have been settled will be put in an account held by the Supreme Court and frozen until - and if - the sanctions are lifted.

Many people had expressed a hope that the funds would be given to Ukraine, but experts have advised that this would not be legally possible.