The question of who truly owns the Alfa Nero superyacht has been the subject of a legal dispute.
However, despite this, the government is confident that the yacht will eventually be sold, as stated by the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff.
The government took control of the vessel after it was abandoned in April and sold it in June at an auction where Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, won the bid with $67.6 million.
However, the alleged yacht owners have challenged the government’s ownership in court and are trying to prevent the sale. At the Cabinet’s weekly press conference held recently, Chief of Staff in the Office of Prime Minister Lionel Max insisted that the purchaser remains interested in acquiring the vessel after the court proceedings have concluded.
“If anything is delaying [the sale], it is those legal proceedings. That’s because the original owners of the vessel have filed several lawsuits, none of which is resulting in any success on their part. In other words, they’re frivolous lawsuits intended merely to hold up the consummation of the sale. “We are awaiting the opportunity to appear before the High Court…when you file, you stand in line almost always, and in this particular case, I suspect that those who have filed the lawsuits are praying that we have to stand in line for a long time because it is nothing more than a delaying tactic we believe.” It is believed that Yulia Guryeva-Motlokhov, daughter of the Russian oligarch Andrey Guryev, who is under sanctions, is the rightful owner of the luxurious yacht.
She is the sole beneficiary of a trust based in Guernsey, which holds 100% of the share in a BVI-based firm, Flying Dutchman Limited, that officially owns the yacht.
However, the government claims that the vessel threatens the marine environment in Falmouth Harbour where it has been anchored for more than a year. Therefore, the government went to Parliament to modify the Port Authority Act to acquire it legally. Despite sending a notice to the owner to remove the yacht, no response was received within the given time frame, which led to the auction and planned sale of the yacht.
In a recent update, Hurst reiterated the government’s legal stance and confirmed that the purchaser is still interested in acquiring the vessel after the court proceedings conclude. “There’s no evidence at all to suggest that they did not have noticed before, and following the ten-day period that was given for the announcement of the auction of the vessel…but Mr Schmidt – the billionaire who has indicated a willingness to purchase the vessel – has not backed away at all from his promise.
“His sixty-seven million dollars are someplace just waiting to be dispatched to the government of Antigua and Barbuda – the rightful owner,” Hurst said. There are worries about the superyacht’s safety amidst ongoing legal issues, especially with the predicted intensification of the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season. It is not yet known if there are any plans to relocate the vessel to a safer spot temporarily.