Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich is no stranger to the island of St Barts. In fact, he has a long history with the Caribbean island, and even owns property there! In this article, we’ll take a look at Abramovich’s links to St Barts and discuss his various investments on the island. We’ll also take a look at his superyacht Eclipse, which is often seen moored off the coast of St Barts, right outside of Gustavia Harbor. Finally, we’ll talk about how Abramovich donated money to help build the local football stadium on St Barts.
Over the years, we’ve had hundreds of Russian guests on the island. At my own villas, I’ve happily welcomed Russian guests, until very recently. So, I’ll avoid being judgmental in any way. As a French person who has lived in various countries, I’ve been called out more than once on my government’s actions and policies, even when I disapproved of them. The sanctions on Russia, from personal travel bans to the disconnection from international payment systems will have some impact on our island’s economy.
The international press has been busy chronicling the seizing of various assets that belong to Russian billionaires that are supposed to be part of Putin’s entourage. Roman Abramovich’s name has often been included in the list. In St Barts, this is a familiar name, even if a lot of people have no idea that the oligarch was reputedly so close to the Kremlin.
Obviously, this is slightly awkward for a local St Barths guide to be writing about international affairs and especially about one person. The goal of this article is to show that Roman Abramovich has very clear ties to our island, without any judgment. We’ll also try and see what can happen next to Roman Abramovich’s assets in St Barts.
Roman Abramovich acquired the Gouverneur beach estate in 2009
When you drive down the road from Lurin to go to the beach of Gouverneur, you can take a sneak peek at the sprawling villa complex standing by the seashore. As you go to park by the beach, you pass the property’s entrance, whose gate is adorned by drawings of green geckos. Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich acquired it in 2009, for a reputed whopping $90 million.
The acquisition was shrouded in secrecy. The deal was reputedly done via a complex web of offshore companies, and the true identity of the buyer was not revealed until after the sale had been completed.
The purchase price was never made public, but it is thought to have been in the region of $90 million. This makes it one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in the Caribbean.
The property includes a main house, guest house, swimming pool, and tennis court. Roman Abramovich has reportedly spent considerable sums on upgrading the property. Local lore has it that he even installed bullet-proof windows.
Jeet Singh, the previous owner, who sold the property for a reputed $90 million
Jeet Singh is the former owner of the Gouveneur property in St Barts. He made a fortune building and selling ATG, a software company, before turning musician. He decided to purchase a piece of land on Gouverneur beach. The property was in a state of disrepair, but Jeet Singh was able to restore it to its former glory. He infused the estate with some Balinese style, adding thatched roofs, coconut wood, bamboo, teak wood, stone, and bricks. He then sold the property to Roman Abramovich.
The famous parties New Year’s Eve parties at Abramovich’s St Barts estate
The famous New Year’s Eve parties at Roman Abramovich’s estate on the island of St Barts are the talk of the Caribbean. The Russian billionaire is said to spare no expense when it comes to his New Year’s celebrations, and his guests are in for a real treat.
The party usually starts in the early evening, with guests arriving by private jet or yacht. Abramovich’s superyacht, the Eclipse, is often moored off the shore of his estate, and guests can take a swim in the pool or enjoy the views from the balconies.
As midnight approaches, fireworks light up the sky, and champagne flows freely. The party usually goes on until the early hours of the morning, and guests are often seen dancing on the beach or in the pool.
The party is not complete with a live concert by a world-class artist or group. Abramovich’s New Year’s Eve party has boasted performances by Prince, The Killers, Kings of Leon, and Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
Will the St Barths or French authorities seize the property?
At the time of writing, it’s still complicated to see whether they actually can. St Barths is a French island but is not in the European Union. Yet, it is an overseas territory associated with the EU (e.g. St Barts used the euro).
St Barths is French, but also enjoys a degree of legal autonomy, for instance on topics such as property taxes.
If St Barths were in Mainland France, then it would be the local authorities, but the French State, whose job would be to apply the EU sanctions.
As you can see, the situation is a bit complicated. While Roman Abramovich has put the Chelsea Football Club for sale, no such move has been reported when it comes to his Gouverneur estate (yet).
His superyacht Eclipse and its frequent visits to St Barths
Since acquiring his property on Gouverneur beach, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has frequently visited the island of St Barts in his superyacht Eclipse. The yacht is said to be one of the largest and most expensive in the world, measuring 162.5 meters (533 ft 2 in) long. It was the world’s longest private yacht until the Azzam was launched in April 2013. M/Y Eclipse was built by Blohm+Voss of Hamburg, Germany, the fourth-longest afloat. Her exterior and interior were designed by Terence Disdale. The yacht was delivered to Roman Abramovich on 9 December 2010.
The yacht’s construction cost has been estimated at â‚¬340 million but its current value is estimated at a whopping $1.5 billion. Abramovich often anchors Eclipse in Gustavia harbor, where it is often the largest yacht moored.
Luxury and missiles
The luxurious Eclipse yacht is a floating paradise with two helicopter pads, 24 guest cabins, and several pools. The vessel also has several hot tubs to soothe your mind after long days at sea or exploring new depths in the ocean! And if that weren’t enough, there are launch boats for when you want more speed on land journeys while subsurface exploration takes its toll–this boat can go down 50 meters (160 feet)! With 70 crew members who work tirelessly around this oversized luxury liner, many security systems ensure everyone feels safe from harm’s way including missiles detection kits plus self-defense measures. (Not every megayacht comes with missile launchers).
During the yearly St Barths sailing regattas, such as the St Barths Bucket and Les Voiles de Saint Barth, Abramovich’s boats may regular appearances. They were not competing but were definitely part of the show.
Where is Abramovich’s yacht?
As of writing, the Eclipse superyacht has left its mooring between St Barts and St Maarten and is now in the Mediterranean Sea, off the Algeria coast. Solaris, another Abramovich yacht, is now anchored in Montenegro, a European country that is not a member of the European Union. So, Eclipse may be heading there too in search of a safe haven.
Abramovich is a benefactor to St Barts – The football stadium
The St Jean football stadium in St Barths has been built and rebuilt thanks to the money of Abramovich. The first stadium was inaugurated in 2006, and the second one in 2019. Abramovich helped rebuilt it after Hurricane Irma. This is one of the most popular sports facilities on the island and it is used by both locals and tourists.
Why does Roman Abramovich like St Barts so much?
But what is it about St Barts that Abramovich finds so appealing? Is it the stunning scenery? The luxurious lifestyle? The relaxed atmosphere?
Roman Abramovich loves the island of St Barts because it is a place where he can relax and unwind without any press, paparazzi, or hassle. It is the perfect place for him to escape the pressures of his everyday life.
He enjoys the simple pleasures that St Barts has to offer. According to local acquaintances, he’s a very down-to-earth guy, and he likes the fact that he can go for a swim or a hike without being bothered by anyone.
Like other St Barts celebrities, he sees as a place where he can be himself without having to put on a show for anyone. He can just kick back and enjoy the island life.
So there you have it! It seems that Roman Abramovich’s love for St Barts is rooted in its ability to provide him with a sense of relaxation and escape from the outside world.
It’s no secret that Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich loves St Barts. He has a property on Gouverneur beach, his superyacht Eclipse often graces the shores of the island, and he even donated money to build the local St Barts football stadium.