Posted by: Jerry Garrett | August 13, 2017

Strange Saga of the Superyacht Dilbar I

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Natita, off the Côte d’Azur (Burgess Yachts)

(Editor’s Note: This story is a name-dropping dream: Russian oligarchs, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Mar-a-Lago, Ivanka Trump, Goldman Sachs, billionaires, scandals, superyachts and even JFK!)

Dilbar is the name bestowed on what is currently the world’s largest superyacht.

Dilbar, as noted on this blog in a previous post, is owned by Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov, GazProm CEO and Vladimir Putin pal. The ship, which is 512 feet long, was completed in 2016 at a reported cost of $600 million. But the current Dilbar is not the first ship Usmanov, worth $18 billion and change (at last report), has owned by that name.

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Current Dilbar (JG Photo)

The original Dilbar, or Dilbar I, is the subject of this story, which just recently experienced a new plot twist. The yacht now belongs to Goldman Sachs, and they seem flummoxed over what to do with it.

That yacht is now called the Natita, and it’s a 216.5-foot long version of Usmanov’s yachting fantasy that was built back by Oceanco in 2005, according to Superyachts.com. It set something of a new standard of luxury back then, with an interior by world-renowned designer Alberto Pinto. Just check out (below) the onboard pool, cited recently as one of the 10 most beautiful superyacht pools.

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It also boasts a movie theater, eight guest cabins, a dance floor, and the obligatory helipad.

Still, it is less than half the size of the current Dilbar, and could supposedly fit entirely inside the bigger ship, with room to spare.

However, the original owner seemed never to be completely satisfied with it. It was completely refitted four years later, renamed, and then finally sold off. (A second Dilbar was commissioned and is now named the Ona, which apparently the Dilbar I was also named prior to 2010 – yes, it’s confusing to me too. So the mammoth current Dilbar would be, I guess, the third with that name.)

The original Dilbar cost something well into nine figures (possibly $263 million, according to one blog). When it changed hands in 2010, the asking price was somewhere around $80 million.

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“Bill the Billionaire” not so popular in Peru

I don’t know if that’s what the guy who bought it, Houston oilman William Kallop, paid for it.

Kallop made a fortune back in 2009, when he sold his Peruvian offshore oil exploration operation for $900+ million to investors from Korea and Colombia. It was a controversial deal, to say the least; Peruvian activists claimed their government got screwed out of $482 million in revenue, plus they argued Kallop personally owed another $270 million in income taxes from the sale. His company had earlier been implicated in a spying and corruption scandal that had helped bring down the Peruvian cabinet.)

Armed with that windfall, Kallop went on an international spending spree. He took a seven percent stake in $3+ billion energy company Quicksilver Resources. He also bought a 300-year-old pisco liquor distillery. He acquired three Gulfstream jets. (Some internet posts erroneously claim he invested in Quiksilver, the surf apparel company, which went bankrupt awhile back.)

He must have needed those jets to hop between his eight residences, which included a Peruvian mansion, two homes in the Dominican Republic, a working cattle ranch in Texas, and a couple of south Florida estates.

And he bought lots and lots of yachts — at least seven of them over the past eight years.

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The Honey Fitz (myhoneyfitz.com)

That total does not include the Honey Fitz, a 93-footer used by five U.S. Presidents including John F. Kennedy, that Kallop bought at Sotheby’s Camelot auction in 1998 for about $9 million. Kallop had it painstakingly restored in the early 20-teens, but he suffered many millions in unexpected costs in the process. It sits, as of this writing, in a Palm Beach area marina.

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Bill, now 74, married Peruvian wife Cristina, 57, in 2008.

A worse fate befell his 104-foot La Diva, once owned by Ivanka Trump; it burned to the waterline in a weird 2010 blaze at a different Palm Beach marina. The yacht had been purchased from close friend Donald Trump, according to Bill’s wife Cristina, who for some reason referred to it (or some boat they owned) as the “Jackie O”. The flamboyant Cristina was a noted hostess on the Peruvian and Palm Beach social scenes (she once masqueraded as Marie Antoinette – while Bill was a pirate) and held parties on the yacht, and at Mar-a-Lago with Trump as a guest.

Three or four years ago, Kallop’s financial situation seemed to come under stress.

The worst hit had to have been with Quicksilver, which made some multi-billion-dollar bad bets in the oil shale business and went downhill rapidly. The company actually was liquidated at the end of 2015 (there was an auction for its last $245 million in assets in January 2016).

In 2014, Kallop borrowed $21 million from Goldman Sachs for a 12,000-square-foot Polynesian-themed waterfront mansion, just down the cart path from his neighbor Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

Also in 2014, he decided to draw another $32 million from Goldman Sachs against the equity in the Natita and another yacht, the Bad Girl.

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A Kallop Palm Beach mansion

Two years ago, Kallop sold one of his Palm Beach mansions for $19 million. About the same time, he listed the Natita with yacht brokers at $67 million. He also offered it for rent – at $495,000 per week! He kept dropping the sales price, but the fish weren’t biting.

Last month, the Natita was seized in West Palm Beach by U.S. Marshals, at the behest of GS, which claims Kallop stopped paying on the remaining $28 million balance on his earlier $32 million loan. The marina is claiming millions in back mooring fees. The Natita reportedly has fallen into such dilapidated shape that a charter party walked off of it in March 2016. Goldman Sachs groused about having to refill its fuel tanks – just to keep its generators running – at a cost of $67,000!

While the Natita molders in impound, the Bad Girl seems to have vanished. Last February, off the coast of Punta Cana, Dominica; its locator beacon stopped sending signals.

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Bad Girl

According to the Wall Street Journal, former employees have sued Kallop for – and won – millions in back pay and benefits.

What’s next? For Kallop, hard to say; his lawyers did not respond to calls for comment. Same with GS. For the Natita, it seems like the auction block could be the answer. The asking price has been steadily dropped to $39.9 million. It is likely to sell for much, much less.

Maybe Usmanov could pick it up on the cheap, and use it as a dinghy for Dilbar III.

Jerry Garrett

August 12, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

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Responses

  1. Dear Jerry,
    How are your French-Italian vacation on the road ?
    Hope you have fab times !
    Greetings
    GC

    • Thanks Giancarlo. My travels have been such fun. Soon I hope to have more to report.


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