Russian billionaire’s yacht held in Gibraltar by authorities

GIBRALTAR, March 21 (Reuters) – A luxury superyacht linked to the owner of Russia’s largest steel pipe manufacturer, currently under British and European Union sanctions, docked in Gibraltar on Monday and was subsequently detained by authorities.

Western sanctions against Russian oligarchs following Moscow’s invasion of Moscow have led to an exodus of luxury yachts from Europe in recent weeks, several of them to the Maldives, which have no extradition treaty with the United States.

Reuters TV footage showed the “Axiom”, believed to be owned by Dmitrievich Pumpyansky, owner of steel group TMK (TRMK.MM), moored in Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, under Maltese flag.

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Britain last week imposed sanctions on hundreds of Russian individuals and entities, allowing authorities to freeze their assets.

Data from Refinitiv shows that the 72-meter vessel is owned by a holding company in the British Virgin Islands called Pyrene Investments. An article published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists as part of the Panama Papers leaks Pumpyansky as the company’s beneficiary.

Forbes and specialist publication Superyacht Fan also cite him as the owner of the Axiom.

The government of Gibraltar confirmed in a statement that the Axiom had arrived at the port after requesting permission to enter and “it was confirmed to be the subject of an arrest by a leading international bank at the High Court of Gibraltar”.

“The ship is now subject to arrest by the Admiralty Marshal until further notice,” it said, without specifying the legal claims of creditors against the ship or the ship’s owner.

Refinitiv ship data showed that the Axiom left the Caribbean island of Antigua on Feb. 27, crossing the Atlantic for the past three weeks before reaching Gibraltar.

Earlier on Monday, a ship linked to Roman Abramovich, the sanctioned owner of Chelsea football club, docked in the coastal town of Bodrum in southwestern Turkey. read more

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Reporting by Jon Nazca, additional reporting by Joan Faus; Written by Nathan Allen; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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