Gibraltar will today see auction bids for a Malta-flagged superyacht seized from its previous Russian owner per sanctions placed on Russian citizens following that country's invasion of Ukraine, while the Isle of Man government yesterday slipped out a notice on the extension of a so-called General Licence, which will in particular facilitate dealings in North American subsidiaries of Evraz plc.

The 72m superyacht, MY Axioma, is noted by the Gibraltar Chronicle, while Bloomberg and other media have named the former owner as Dmitry Pumpyansky, who appears on both the EU and UK sanctions lists of Russians. It has also been reported that the vessel was seized after JP Morgan claimed Pumpyansky did not repay a loan.

Evraz plc is a multinational steel and mining company listed in London but founded in Moscow in the 1990s, with interests held by Russian oligarchs.

In the Isle of Man, the sanctions rules lead the Treasury to announce an extension of General Licence IOM/2022/RUS019 from 19 August to 31 March 2023 "allowing for the continued business operations of Evraz' North American subsidiaries."

These include Evraz North America plc, Evraz Inc. NA, and Evraz Inc. NA - Canada.

Evraz announced on 10 August that it was "launching the process of soliciting proposals for the acquisition of its North American subsidiaries (Evraz North America, "ENA" or the "Company")."

"The sale will allow to unlock the stand-alone value of the North America business," it stated, adding that all dealings were being done in accordance with prevailing sanctions.

"The solicitation process is currently being conducted under the [UK's HM Treasury] Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) General License INT/2022/1710676 and we are in contact with OFSI as part of this process. The possible transaction will be subject to regulatory and corporate approvals and applicable sanctions laws, and will require approval from relevant sanctions authorities, including OFSI."

"Evraz does not intend to provide any additional information on this process unless or until the process is finalised."

For Cyprus, a key Russia issue is tourism earnings. The country has recently been reported looking to join with certain other EU member states to block proposals to ban all tourist visas for Russians seeking to visit the EU. 

Besides potentially losing tourism revenues, this also flags up the extent to which the two countries have been linked politically and economically in recent times. Russia contributed to bailing out Cyprus during the European sovereign debt crisis period a decade ago, when the exposure of banks in Cyprus to Greek government debt led to a financial crisis. Cyprus announced in 2019 that it has paid off the debt to Russia.