Despite paying $100,000 every month for more than a year to maintain the Russian billionaire’s abandoned superyacht, Antigua has made a massive profit of $63 million on the sale of the Alfa Nero to ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt. The proceeds will add 4% to the country’s GDP.

Via Facebook / @Eric Schmidt

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt was announced as the winning bidder in a recent auction of the Alfa Nero superyacht that was abandoned in Antigua in March 2022. According to a statement made by the Antigua and Barbuda Port Authority, the 81.3-meter Oceanco-built superyacht was sold for $67.6 million at the auction that was held on 16 June. A minimum sale price of $60 million was set for the superyacht, which has been valued at $115 million by the government of Antigua and Barbuda; however, only two of the three bids exceeded the reserve price. A last-minute attempt was also made by the vessel’s previous owners to stop the sale but the emergency injunction application was rejected by the court, clearing the way for the vessel’s auction.

Andrew Guryev. Image – MT

It all began in February 2022 when Alfa Nero was blocked from leaving the port of Antigua by the local authorities in a bid to determine the ownership of the vessel. A number of Russian billionaires and oligarchs were sanctioned by the US and its allies following Ukraine’s invasion; Russian fertilizer billionaire Andrey Guryev is one of them. The US Treasury Department claimed that the superyacht was purchased by Guryev for $120 million in 2014, but the Russian oligarch has denied the claim. This triggered a sequence of events that led to the yacht’s transfer of ownership to the Antiguan government in April and finally the auction that took place last week.

Via Instagram / @37south_yachts

Antigua and Barbuda was eager to sell the vessel due to mounting maintenance costs. The sale of the vessel comes as a major relief for the Antigua government, which has been bleeding money for more than a year. According to reports, the country has been paying around $100,000 a month to maintain the luxury superyacht, which amounts to approximately $1.5 million spent by the government since the vessel was abandoned last year.

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Via Facebook / @Antigua Observer by NewsCo Ltd

Additionally, the vessel has also accrued a staggering bill of around $2.1 million in unpaid dues to its crew, further escalating the country’s burden to about $3.7 million, which will now be taken care of by the proceeds from the sale. Antigua and Barbuda Port Manager Darwin Telemaque said the sale price would cover “all liabilities.”

Alfa Nero has been docked at Antigua’s Falmouth Harbour since March 2022.

Even after paying off all the bills, the government will pocket a healthy profit from the sale. The windfall profit comes to around $64 million, which roughly equates to around 4% of Antigua’s GDP which stood at around $1.47 billion in 2021 according to official data from the World Bank. The 68-year-old ex-CEO of Google will now have seven days to pay the money to the Treasury Department. “We are pleased that we now have an owner, and the owner is now tasked with taking on all of the responsibilities to get the vessel ready and moving and, hopefully, they can do it quick enough,” the Port Manager said.

The outdoor swimming pool of Alfa Nero.Via Charterworld

Alfa Nero – a multiple-award-winning superyacht
The beautiful luxury superyacht was built in the Netherlands by Oceanco and delivered in 2007. The vessel measures 81.3 meters in length and has a gross tonnage of 2159 GT. The exterior was designed by Nuvolari Lenard, while the naval architecture was developed by Oceanco and Azure Yacht Design and Naval Architecture. The vessel gets a steel hull, an aluminum superstructure, and a teak deck.

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The main salon.Via Charterworld

Described by its makers as “one of the world’s most iconic and highly awarded yachts,” the superyacht includes amenities such as a baby grand piano and a swimming pool that converts into a helipad. The interior was designed by Alberto Pinto and looks absolutely stunning. She can accommodate up to 12 guests in 6 staterooms, along with 28 crew members.

Eric Schmidt with Korean singer Psy.

Who is Eric Schmidt?
Eric Schmidt is a 68-year-old American billionaire who served as Google’s CEO from 2001 to 2011. Before joining Google, he had stints as CEO of Novell and chief technology officer at Sun Microsystems. Schmidt left the board of Google’s parent company Alphabet in June 2019 after 18 years. Furthermore, Schmidt was also elected to Apple’s board of directors, a position he held until August 2009. In 2010, he co-founded an early-stage venture capital firm called Innovation Endeavors that has invested in Uber, SoFi, and Zymergen, among others. According to Forbes, Schmidt’s current net worth is around $20.3 billion, which puts him in the 82nd position on the list of the world’s richest people.

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Written By
Sayan Chakravarty, a Senior Writer at Luxurylaunches, brings over 10 years of automotive journalism expertise. He provides insightful coverage of the latest cars and motorcycles across American and European markets, while also highlighting luxury yachts, high-end watches, and gadgets. An authentic automobile aficionado, his commitment shines through in educating readers about the automotive world. When the keyboard rests, Sayan feeds his wanderlust, traversing the world on his motorcycle.