Desperately trying to get rid of the seized $120 million superyacht Alfa Nero, the government of Antigua has filed a counter-appeal against the sanctioned Russian oligarch’s daughter, to proceed with the sale of the vessel to ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt

It’s been more than a month since ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt was announced as the winning bidder of the $120 million superyacht Alfa Nero in an auction held by the Antiguan Government. However, the beautiful luxury vessel continues to be stuck on the Caribbean island, embroiled in a complex legal battle. Yulia Guryeva-Motlokhov, the daughter of Russian oligarch Andrew Guryev, has been relentless in her efforts to challenge Antigua’s right to auction the 81.3-meter Oceanco-built superyacht that was seized last year. The story took a new twist recently with the government of the island nation officially filing a counter appeal in the ongoing legal battle, according to a report by Antigua Observer.

Anthony Astaphan, senior counsel representing the government of Antigua, explained: “The counter appeal is in relation to the appeal by Dr. Dorsett’s client, the daughter of the Russian oligarch. The appeal from the refusal of the judge to grant the injunction and our cross-appeal was that he should have dismissed it on the ground that she had no proprietary rights or interest…so therefore there was no serious issue to be tried as to whether she has an interest in the boat or not.”

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Image – Dr David Dorsett represents the daughter of Russian oligarch Andrew Guryev.

Claiming to be the rightful owner of Alfa Nero, the daughter of the sanctioned Russian billionaire had filed an appeal last month challenging the legality of the action. The appeal was filed on the grounds that “the Port Authority (Amendment) Act allowed the government to take hold of her property, the Alfa Nero, without compensation, and that the Act only permitted the Port Manager to take possession of the vessel but did not confer any title,” per Antigua Observer. Furthermore, her attorney, Dr. David Dorsett, argued that the Port Manager did not hold an Auctioneer’s License, and the superyacht was not entitled to be registered under the Antigua and Barbuda Merchant Shipping Act.

Andrew Guryev.

The court had previously rejected another appeal filed by Yulia for an emergency injunction to stop the auction from proceeding. The counter-appeal recently filed by the government is part of its desperate attempts to get its hands off the superyacht which has been moored in Falmouth Harbor since February 2022. According to estimates, the government has already spent close to $1.5 million of public tax money on the maintenance and upkeep of the $120 million vessel. The Antiguan government also plans to offer legal guarantees to the winning bidder over any liabilities that may arise from the litigations.

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Eric Schmidt, the ex-CEO of Google won the auction fair and square last month with a winning bid of $67.7 million, beating two other interested bidders. He had been given a seven-day deadline to make the payment to the Antiguan government. But the constant injunctions and appeals filed by Yulia Guryeva-Motlokhov to delay the sale forced Schmidt’s lawyers to advise him against transferring any money until the court controversy is ironed out. It will be interesting to see if the planned legal guarantees and the counter-appeal will clear the way for the sale, or if Antigua will continue to bleed money keeping the Alfa Nero seaworthy.

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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.