Mystery Billionaire’s Abandoned $120 Million Superyacht Going To Auction

We wonder how many parking tickets they've copped...

Mystery Billionaire’s Abandoned $120 Million Superyacht Going To Auction

Image: AP

One mystery billionaire seems to have left one of his favourite toys behind, languishing on the coast of Antigua. But why exactly would any big-bucks worth their salt walk away from such a valuable asset? And who will step up to the plate to acquire this much-mistreated vessel?

It’s easy to forget things: your house keys, your great-aunt’s birthday, or exactly when daylight savings comes to a long-overdue end. One thing you might not expect someone to forget, however, is their $120 Million dollar superyacht. And yet, it seems that one billionaire may have done just that.

We know that yachts are one of billionaires’ favourite investments and that they can sometimes come with more complications than you might expect, as Jeff Bezos found out to his anguish earlier this year. However, it seems that there may be more to this little hiccup than meets the eye…

Antigua and Barbuda’s government has announced that an Alfa Nero superyacht, estimated to be worth $120 million, will soon be auctioned off if no one comes forward to claim it after the vessel has been abandoned on its shores, unmaintained since February 2022.

Meanwhile, the government has begrudgingly been paying all necessary fees for its upkeep, including food and fuel costs totalling over half a million US dollars…

The Alfa Nero was built by Dutch shipbuilder Oceanco in 2007 and was sold to its current unidentified owner for $115 million in 2011. The yacht measures 267 feet and features luxurious amenities such as an onboard spa, jacuzzi, a nearly 40-foot infinity pool, and six staterooms that can accommodate up to 28 crew members. Its helipad also doubles as an (additional…) infinity pool. Safe to say, it’s pretty well-appointed.

The vessel is a beautiful thing when in motion – will it ever sail again? Image: Ocean of News

The owner of the yacht is unknown, hence its lengthy stay on Anitguan shores. However, the US government believes it could belong to Russian billionaire Andrey Guryev, the fertiliser giant.

Guryev denies ownership, claiming to be a beneficiary of a trust that owns the yacht, but nothing more. Moreover, Guryev’s London lawyers have stated that he does not own or control the vessel, and any use of the vessel has only been under commercial charter long after the initial purchase was made.

However, it’s pretty widely known that Russian oligarchs often veil their ownership of often luxurious assets in layers of red tape and carefully constructed shell companies…

Another plot-thickening dimension to the tale is the timing of the yacht’s abandonment in February 2022, which aligns perfectly with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While Guryev has a cozy net worth of over $10 billion USD and has not faced any apparent significant financial setbacks from the invasion, he insistently denies ownership of the yacht.

Andrey Guryev, the long-suspected owner of the yacht. Image: Flickr

The boat has been moored at Falmouth Harbour for the past eighteen months and – due to its not-inconsiderable size – has caused inconvenience and hazard to the many other boats in the area.

If the yacht isn’t claimed soon, it could be an opportunity for someone to acquire a pretty squeaky deal. A word to the wise, however: the proceeds from the auction will stay in Antigua and Barbuda and the government reserves the right to acquire the funds at a later date…

The yacht serves as a timely and intriguing reminder of the myriad ways that billionaires around the world – oligarchs, tech founders, or otherwise – are able to veil the varied sources and investments of their apparently hard-earned cash, and always find a way to make sure its others picking up the pieces for them when things go awry…

That being said, if it means that a couple of Antiguan bureaucrats have had the chance to take a helipad-come-infinity pool for a pin in the meantime, I suppose it’s not all bad.