A $120 million megayacht linked to a Russian billionaire has been docked in Antigua and Barbuda for 19 months.
The Caribbean nation tried to auction it off, before a legal action was filed against it.
Now taxpayers in the small country are paying $28,000-a-week to maintain the idle vessel, per the WSJ.
A 270-foot megayacht seized by the Antigua and Barbuda government has landed taxpayers in the small Caribbean nation with a $28,000 weekly bill to maintain it, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Alfa Nero is a $120 million vessel that was raided by armed police and the FBI in August 2022, having been left in Antigua's Falmouth Harbor since Russia invaded Ukraine six months earlier.
The US Treasury Department has linked the Alfa Nero to Andrey Guryev, a Russian oligarch who the department says is a "close associate" of Vladimir Putin. He founded a fertilizer company and has a net worth of $9 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Back in March, an Antigua and Barbuda government minister said the Alfa Nero was set to be auctioned because it risked becoming a "hazard" as it wasn't being maintained properly, The Guardian reported.
Eric Schmidt, the former Google CEO, won the yacht auction in June for $67.6 million. But the Journal reports that he got cold feet after a company linked to Guryev's daughter filed a last-minute legal action to block the sale.
So the megayacht, which is outfitted with an infinity pool that can transform into a dancefloor, has remained in Falmouth Harbor for the last 19 months. And it's become a white elephant for the Caribbean nation with a population of 93,000.
The Journal reports that the country's residents are paying $28,000-a-week in taxes to maintain the Alfa Nero, including the salary of an Italian captain and $2,000-a-day in diesel to keep its air conditioning running. That's because if the AC is turned off, it could let mold spread throughout the vessel and ruin the hardwood interior or a Joan Miró painting onboard, per the WSJ.
Tom Paterson, the dock master of the marina, told the Journal: "You take thousand dollar bills, tear them up, and just keep going."
The Antigua and Barbuda government could not immediately be reached for comment.
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