The story of the motor yacht Alfa Nero Auction and its connection to American billionaire Eric Schmidt is filled with twists and turns, legal disputes, and ownership claims. In this narrative, we will delve into the chronology of events and the individuals involved.
In February 2022, the Motoryacht Alfa Nero Auction was abandoned and seemingly forgotten. However, a glimmer of hope emerged when the Government of Antigua decided to auction the luxury vessel, considering it a hazard.
Antigua’s Alfa Nero Auction Efforts:
On April 11, 2023, the government of Antigua seized the 269-foot-long vessel and initiated plans to auction it off. Antigua lobbied the US government to lift sanctions on the ship to make this possible.
After overcoming this hurdle, a significant event took place on June 16, 2023, when the superyacht Alfa Nero was auctioned live on television. Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, emerged as the winning bidder, offering nearly $68 million.
Yulia Guryev’s Ownership Claim
However, the story didn’t end there. Russian oligarch Andrew Guryev’s daughter, Yulia Guryeva-Motlokhov, stepped forward, claiming to be the rightful owner of the vessel. This claim added another layer of complexity to an already tangled situation.
Yulia Guryev’s Ownership Claim
Adding further complications, American billionaire Warren Halle filed a lawsuit against the government of Antigua. Halle alleged that he had met with Prime Minister Gaston Brown on March 14, 2023, for the purchase of the Oceanco beauty. The Prime Minister had instructed him to top a previous offer, which Halle did, unaware that the Alfa Nero Auction was still under OFAC sanctions.
Halle’s Early Preparations:
Unfazed by the sanctions, Warren Halle eagerly proceeded with preparations to acquire the yacht. He transferred $10 million to a trust account, hired lawyers and captains, and even planned to charter the vessel for $800,000 a week once he obtained ownership. This occurred before the yacht was officially seized on April 11, 2023.
Halle’s Legal Battle
Halle’s legal troubles escalated when he learned on May 23, 2023, that the Prime Minister lacked the authority to sell him the superyacht. In the subsequent auction, he came in second with a bid of $66 million, narrowly losing to Eric Schmidt’s $67.6 million bid.
On June 29, 2023, Warren Halle took a significant legal step by filing an injunction to prevent the sale of the Motoryacht Alfa Nero Auction to Eric Schmidt. He claimed $5,683,000 for breach of contract from the defendants and incurred substantial losses in his pursuit of the yacht.
As of July 2023, Yulia Guryeva-Motlokhov remained determined to assert her ownership claim over the luxury vessel, despite a previous rejection by the high court. Her attorney, Dr. David Dorsett, confirmed their intention to file another appeal, emphasizing the need to challenge the court’s decision.
The Alfa Nero saga continues to unfold, with legal battles, ownership claims, and a cast of prominent characters. The fate of this $120 million luxury vessel remains uncertain, leaving us to wonder who will ultimately emerge as its rightful owner. Will it be Warren Halle, Eric Schmidt, or Yulia Guryeva-Motlokhov? Only time will tell in this ongoing maritime drama.