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Aviva_Hudson_NY1. Photo by Acroterion via wikipedia.

Yacht Aviva on the Hudson River above the George Washington Bridge, New York. Photo by Acroterion via wikipedia.

Joe Lewis’ $250 Million Yacht Sets Sail After He Pays US Fine

Bloomberg
Total Views: 9667
April 21, 2024

By Ben Stupples and Ava Benny-Morrison

(Bloomberg) –Joe Lewis’ superyacht is on the move again after spending most of the past year holed up in a Mediterranean port while the British billionaire faced insider-trading charges in the US.

His 322-foot (98-meter) Aviva — which he put up as collateral for bail —  has traveled more than 400 nautical miles from Malta to cities along Albania’s coast as well as the Greek island of Zakynthos since he was sentenced April 4 to three years probation, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

After departing Zakynthos earlier this week, the Tavistock Group founder’s yacht was near Kalamata in southern Greece on Thursday morning local time, the data show. It’s the most the roughly $250 million vessel has traveled in about seven months, though it’s unclear if Lewis is on board.

Lewis, 87, pledged his yacht along with his private jet to secure his release following his arrest in July. A few months later, Aviva docked until April 5 in the Maltese capital of Valletta, where it can cost as much as €750 ($800) a night to moor vessels that exceed 75 meters.

Lewis, who was scheduled to have eye surgery in London recently, was prohibited from setting foot on the yacht that has long served as part-residence, part-office while awaiting trial. He was only allowed on board after paying a $5 million fine after sentencing, which he settled soon after the verdict in Manhattan.

A representative for Lewis, who has a net worth of about $7.3 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, declined to comment.

Lewis, whose global empire includes five-star hotels, private lenders and enclaves for the wealthy, launched Aviva in 2017. It includes eight guest suites, a helipad, padel tennis court, spa and a cinema. It ranked among the world’s 25-most valuable superyachts shortly after its launch, alongside those owned by Middle Eastern royals.

The yacht has also displayed works from Lewis’ private art collection, which is valued at more than $1 billion and includes pieces by Picasso, Freud, Klimt and Degas.

Events that authorities say took place on the yacht were a key piece of evidence that prosecutors used against him. 

At dinner one night in September 2019, the billionaire received favorable news about Mirati Therapeutics Inc., an oncology company where he was a major investor, leading him to pass along the tip to a host of people, including the pilots of his private jet, according to US regulators.

Those pilots — Bryan “Marty” Waugh and Patrick O’Connor — were also charged with trading on inside information. O’Connor pleaded guilty to securities fraud and conspiracy and is due to be sentenced in May, while Waugh is fighting the charges.

© 2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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