As if a $100,000 monthly maintenance bill wasn’t enough, the abandoned $120 million Alfa Nero superyacht has now dragged the Antiguan prime minister into a corruption scandal. The luxury vessel is becoming a curse for the tiny Caribbean nation.

Antigua has been desperately trying to get its hands off the abandoned $120 million Alfa Nero, which has been stationed in the Caribbean nation since March 2022 following the Russia-Ukraine war. After failing to sell the luxury vessel twice, Antigua’s government is currently negotiating with another potential buyer. However, when the island nation finally seemed close to getting the monkey off its back, the superyacht became the center of a corruption scandal involving the Prime Minister.

Back in June 2023, the pleasure craft was almost sold to ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who had made a bid of nearly $68 million to acquire Alfa Nero. The deal fell through as the abandoned 81.3-metre Oceanco superyacht has been entangled in international sanctions and legal disputes. The government made a second attempt by trying to sell it to the second-highest bidder, American billionaire Warren Halle, and failed yet again. This time around, the Antiguan government has decided to maintain complete secrecy over the negotiations with the new potential buyer, which is being questioned by the opposition in the parliament.

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Gaston Browne the Prime Minister of Antigua. Image – AB

Opposition leader Jamale Pringle has asked Prime Minister Gaston Browne and the cabinet members to come clean on the current negotiations regarding the sale of the ill-fated superyacht. Pringle says he’s forced to believe reports that claim the gag order placed on discussions around the sale is intended to hide a controversial commission to be paid to unidentified people. The opposition leader alleged in a press release that the administration is considering a commission fee that is higher than 50% of the vessel’s expected $50 million sale price.

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Pringle has asserted that the nation’s people have the right to know the details “since the acquisition of the vessel was public business, and the upkeep of the yacht and crew salaries are paid by the public purse.” The corruption charges will surely cause more delays in selling what now seems to be a cursed vessel. For the last two years, the Antiguan government has been bearing the astronomical cost of $100,000 every month to maintain the vessel. It’s a huge sum of money for Antigua as it equals almost 40% of the Caribbean nation’s defense budget.

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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.