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From Silicon Valley to High Seas: Ex-Google CEO’s $67 Million Splash on Russian Oligarch’s Superyacht

Eric Schmidt, the tech-billionaire and former CEO of Google, is adding a superyacht to his personal portfolio, shelling out a hefty $67.6 million for the luxury vessel at an auction last Friday. The 267-foot Alfa Nero, however, comes with a unique backstory – it was once left adrift in Antigua Bay by a sanctioned Russian oligarch.

According to reports from Boat International and other media outlets, the Antigua and Barbuda Port Authority announced the high-profile sale. Bloomberg named Schmidt as the mystery buyer, with this information originating from Antigua’s ambassador to the US, Sir Ronald Sanders.

The Alfa Nero’s previous owner, Andrey Guryev, built his fortune in the fertilizer business. Guryev, who allegedly has close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, fell under US Treasury Department sanctions last year due to Russia’s military actions in Ukraine.

Despite Guryev’s legal representative affirming in March that Guryev had no ownership of the yacht, his daughter reportedly attempted to halt the auction, asserting her ownership. Guryev has only chartered the vessel commercially since 2014, according to the representative.

The Antigua officials, anxious to get the superyacht off their books, were keen to finalize the sale. With monthly upkeep and maintenance fees surpassing $110,000 while berthed in Falmouth Harbor, the financial drain was becoming untenable.

Schmidt, at the helm of Google from 2001 to 2011, stepped down from his role as chairman of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, in 2018. Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index currently places him 60th worldwide, with a net worth hovering around $25 billion.

His extravagant purchase features a range of luxury amenities, including a pool that transforms into a helipad. Boat International reports that a portion of the sale’s proceeds will be distributed to the Alfa Nero’s captain and crew, as well as to suppliers.

As of this writing, representatives for Schmidt have not responded to requests for comment made outside regular business hours.