Triay Lawyers, instructed by Watson Farley & Williams, has been acting for JP Morgan Bank SE (the “Bank”) in the arrest of the M/Y AXIOMA (the “Yacht”) in Gibraltar and in the recovery of amounts owing to it by the owner under a loan agreement, by way of the enforcement of its security over the Yacht in the Gibraltar Admiralty Court, following a breach of the terms of the loan agreement by the borrower. Whilst the Yacht was not itself sanctioned by the UK or the EU at the time of arrest, the ultimate beneficial owner of the Yacht, a Russian national, and a personal guarantor of the loan, was indeed sanctioned by the EU on 9 March 2022. The sanction resulted in a breach of the terms of the loan agreement that gave rise to the Bank calling in the loan. The case has involved complicated issues surrounding the implications of the UK and EU sanctions of the individual concerned on the ability of the Bank to enforce its security. The team was able to obtain a licence from the Gibraltar Government under the Sanctions Act 2019 for the Bank, enabling the Bank to undertake the court sale notwithstanding that the Yacht represented an “economic resource” of the sanctioned individual under the Sanctions Act 2019 which was frozen by the sanctions. Additionally, the Yacht itself was sanctioned in early August 2022 by the OFAC, the US Sanctions Authority, adding a further dimension to the case. The team, nevertheless, succeeding in securing an order for the sale of the Yacht and an auction was held on 23 August 2022.
On 23 August 2022, 63 bids were received by the Admiralty Marshal’s Broker, who was tasked with the conduct of the auction. At the time of writing, the value of the bids remain confidential but it is pleasing to note that the Bank will ultimately recover all amounts owing to it, much to our and our client’s satisfaction. The bids are currently being considered by the Admiralty Marshall.