BLOOMBERG: Former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt is changing course on his purchase of a superyacht abandoned by a Russian heiress after she launched a legal battle over the vessel.
Schmidt, who won the 267-foot superyacht for $67.6 million at a public auction in June, withdrew his offer several days ago, Ronald Sanders, Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the U.S. told Bloomberg.
“Schmidt, because of the legal wrangling, determined that we could not give him clear title of the ship,” Sanders said in a Friday interview. “That’s not accurate, because the ship belongs to us, it is owned by the government.”
The Alfa Nero, as the luxury yacht is called, was abandoned in Antigua’s Falmouth Harbor in March 2022 — one of the many glittering vessels and properties cast aside by sanctioned Russian elites following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Lawyers for Yulia Gurieva-Motlokhov, daughter of Russian fertilizer magnate Andrey Guryev, claimed in a July legal appeal that she was the rightful owner of the Alfa Nero. The luxury boat houses a baby grand piano and a swimming pool that converts into a helipad, according to Bloomberg.
The U.S. Treasury Department previously blocked the yacht sale due to Guryev’s ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, but removed it from the sanctions list earlier this year. Guryev formerly headed PhosAgro, one of the world’s largest phosphate-based fertilizer producers.
Eric Schmidt headed Google between 2001 and 2011, and left the board of Google’s parent, Alphabet, in 2019. He currently has a net worth of about $20 billion, according to Forbes.
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