Gov’t decides to remain mum on Alfa Nero superyacht sale

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The Antiguan government has announced it will cease public discussions regarding the controversial Alfa Nero superyacht until its sale has been finalised.

This decision comes amidst ongoing negotiations with a potential buyer for the vessel, which has been at the center of international sanctions and legal disputes.

Chief of Staff Lionel Hurst made the announcement on Thursday, stating, “We agreed not to speak about that in public because there are some negotiations taking place presently with the potential buyer, and we don’t want to spoil it.”

Hurst emphasised the government’s intention to comply with both local obligations and those imposed by international treaties, particularly concerning US sanctions on Russian individuals.

The 267-foot Alfa Nero has been docked in Falmouth Harbour for over two years, with the government claiming it poses environmental and security risks.

The yacht gained notoriety when its alleged owner, Andrey Guryev, a known associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, appeared on international sanctions lists following the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

In April 2023, the government seized and auctioned the superyacht.

However, the top bidder, US tech billionaire Eric Schmidt, withdrew his $67 million offer, citing legal delays in acquiring rights to the vessel.

The yacht’s ownership remains contested, with Andrey Guryev’s daughter, Yulia, claiming the vessel is registered under her name and challenging the government’s right to seize it.

Adding to the complexity of the situation, the government recently admitted to spending over $100,000 per month on the yacht’s maintenance expenses.

As the country is currently in the 2024 hurricane season, questions about the vessel’s fate remain unanswered.

The government maintains that it will inform the public once a sale is consummated, without disclosing asking or settling prices in the interim.

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