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Steve Jobs’ yacht impounded in payment dispute

French designer claims he is owed 9 million euros

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 December, 2012, 4:23pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 December, 2012, 4:30pm

Steve Jobs’ Dutch-built superyacht has been impounded in Amsterdam because of a dispute between the late Apple founder’s estate and designer Philippe Starck over an unpaid bill.

“The yacht has been impounded,” Rotterdam-based lawyer Roelant Klaassen, who represents French designer Starck’s Ubik company, told AFP.

“There is some unfinished business, namely two invoices which were issued by Ubik last summer after Mr Jobs died,” he said.

Amsterdam court bailiffs seized the 70-metre (230-foot) long yacht following a request from Starck’s lawyer.

The Venus reportedly cost over 100 million euros ($130 million) to build and was only unveiled in October, just over a year after Jobs died.

Jobs’ estate says Starck should be paid a percentage of the overall cost of the project, which took over five years to complete. Starck says he should be paid a fixed nine million euros for his contribution, Klaassen said.

The estate is offering six million euros.

Klaassen said he was in contact with a Dutch lawyer representing the Jobs estate, Gerard Moussault.

“Hopefully we will come to an interim agreement with regard to security,” Klaassen said.

Moussault declined to comment on the matter when contacted by AFP.

Starck confirmed the seizure to AFP and said he had “no doubt the situation will be quickly resolved,” declining to comment further.

Jobs’ family, including widow Laurene Powell Jobs and their three children Reed, Erin and Eve, was supposed to take charge of the yacht in the United States.

Klaassen said he had seen documents that show Jobs and Starck were “very close” in the period that the design was made and the building proceeded.

“That’s one of the reasons there was no formal agreement on the job,” he said.

“The most important thing for everyone is that the vessel can sail at a certain moment and hopefully funds will be paid into the account of the lawyers of the estate which can then be used as security,” Klaassen said.

“Apparently the vessel will be loaded on another vessel to be shipped to the States, I think to California.”

The aluminium-hulled yacht was built by Royal De Vries shipbuilders in Aalsmeer, just south of Amsterdam, with interiors designed by Starck.

The bridge features a control panel made up of an array of seven iMac computers.

Starck said last year that he was working on the yacht, which was mentioned in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs, who died on October 5, last year. He said it was “sleek and minimalist”, with teak decks.

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