- Business - Royal Romance’s seller confirmed

By Conor Feasey

Royal Romance’s seller confirmed

Amidst the controversy, the Croatian government has revealed that Dutch auction house Troostwijk Auctions will oversee the sale of the seized yacht…

Following a competitive selection process, Troostwijk Auctions has been named as the body to oversee the sale of sanctioned Ukrainian Viktor Medvedchuk’s yacht, Royal Romance. According to Ukraine’s Asset Recovery and Management Agency (ARMA) earlier today (23 April), the Commission members heading the selection process reviewed the applications of three official bidders.

“This is already a great victory […] Medvedchuk’s yacht will be sold at a transparent auction and will bring significant revenues to the budget of Ukraine," says Olena Duma Head of ARMA. “Whoever buys Medvedchuk’s yacht will deal a political blow to the Putin regime and will be on the pages of world history.”

The ownership status of Royal Romance was transferred to the Ukrainian government earlier this year.

On 20 March 2024, Ukraine and ARMA announced their plans to sell “the yacht of traitor-collaborator Medvedchuk” – the first time a seized asset from abroad will be sold by the nation’s authorities.

This competitive selection process was made possible due to the ruling of the Lychakiv District Court of Lviv on 11 April 2022, the decision of the District Court of Split of the Republic of Croatia on 25 May 2022 and the inspection of the asset carried out on 29 February earlier this year, with the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

Having been established in 2015, Troostwijk Auctions will now manage the sale of the 92-metre Feadship and specialises in the sale of yachts, with an annual revenue of around €1.5 billion. According to Duma, the company’s documents confirm that it has transparent auction rules and supervises the legality of auction procedures with a notary.

The Dutch auction house was selected in favour of two other applicants: US-based Asset Reality Limited and Boathouse Auctions. The former was not admitted to the competitive selection process on the grounds that the company did not comply with the Ukrainian Government's Resolution, the submission of an incomplete package of documents and a violation of the established requirements.

During the competitive selection, as requested by the National Agency, applicants had to provide the Commission overseeing the selection process with a letter clarifying they were not involved in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Medvedchuk or any persons associated with him. Troostwijk Auctions was then approved for the role after extensive evaluation from the commission.

Now, Troostwijk Auctions has five business days to present a proposal to ARMA to conclude the agreement, a draft of which must be supplied to the National Agency in advance.

While the future of Royal Romance remains ultimately unclear at the present moment, the move to seize, take ownership, sell the yacht at auction and keep the proceeds of sale echoes the unresolved Alfa Nero situation in Antigua. The vessel has remained there for several years following lengthy legal processes and litigious disputes over the ultimate ownership.

Whether a similar process will happen with Royal Romance is speculative, however, the parallels remain, only to be reinforced by an announcement earlier today from the ARMA – a bill allowing the National Agency to use seized funds to buy Defense Bonds was passed, being fully supported by 299 members of parliament.

Duma says that the swift adoption of this project “will allow [ARMA] to significantly expand the possibilities for replenishing the state budget and increase funding for defence projects.” ARMA is responsible for purchasing these bonds, and recent figures show a significant amount invested in Defence Bonds.

In 2023, ARMA held Defence Bonds with a total value of 3.701 billion Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH) (€87 million), consisting of 3,602,934 individual units. The income generated from these bonds amounted to 195.86 million UAH (€4.6 million). Currently, after some bonds have been repaid, ARMA still holds 2,378,842 units of Defence Bonds, with a total value of 2.465 billion UAH (€58 million).

Despite some media outlets speculatively valuing Royal Romance at around €200 million, it is difficult to determine what the yacht will actually be sold for if  the sale is to go through. Nevertheless, considering the geopolitical situation Ukraine is in, any proceeds to aid ARMA’s new programme will provide an immensely sizeable defence budget increase, regardless of the litigious fallout that is sure to follow.

FEADSHIP 2014 2015 Delivered
92.50m 14.30m 3.85m 2933

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Royal Romance’s seller confirmed


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