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JPMorgan Behind Moves to Detain Russian Billionaire’s Superyacht

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JPMorgan Chase & Co., the biggest U.S. bank, is behind court moves to seize a superyacht owned by a sanctioned Russian billionaire in Gibraltar.

In one of the first public court actions by a bank to enforce on a debt against a sanctioned individual, JPMorgan won a court order authorizing Gibraltar’s port authority to detain the 73-meter (240-foot) yacht Axioma owned by Dmitry Pumpyansky.

The 5-deck Axioma, which boasts an infinity swimming pool plus a 3D cinema, was impounded last week. Officials in the British territory said that while they wouldn’t normally have allowed the yacht to enter Gibraltar waters given Pumpyansky’s ownership, they seized the vessel “in the interests of creditors with proper claims.”

“JPMorgan is acting pursuant to its mortgage rights,” a spokesman for the Gibraltar government said in a statement Monday. A JPMorgan spokesman declined to comment.

Pumpyansky was sanctioned by the European Union on March 10 and by the U.K. some five days later and, like other tycoons targeted, has sought to restructure his key assets.

He’s offloaded his stake in TMK PJSC, the biggest steel pipemaker in the country and left its board of directors. His representatives declined to comment.

The Axioma is ultimately owned by Pumpyansky, U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss tweeted last week.

JPMorgan, which says its direct exposure to Russia is small, has been “actively unwinding” its Russian business, and pushed out Herman Gref, the boss of Sberbank and a former Russian minister, from its star-studded international council.

The nation wasn’t included among the bank’s top 20 country exposures outside the U.S., according to a regulatory filing last month.

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