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Super yacht worth £150 million spotted off Chanonry Point and Russian-American owner has cake and coffee at a Nairn cafe


By Val Sweeney

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Andreas and Anika Schulz of the Cafe Lavender in Nairn.
Andreas and Anika Schulz of the Cafe Lavender in Nairn.

A NEWLY-OPENED café in Nairn is claiming a prominent Russian-American oil billionaire among its customers taking advantage of the Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme.

Eugene Shvidler, a friend of Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich, dropped in this week at the Café Lavender run by Andreas and Anika Schulz, of the Cawdor House guesthouse.

It follows recent sightings of Mr Shvidler’s £150 million super yacht off Chanonry Point in the Moray Firth.

The super yacht, Le Grand Bleu, which belongs to oil billionaire Eugene Schvidler, in the Moray Firth. Picture supplied by WDC/charliephillips.
The super yacht, Le Grand Bleu, which belongs to oil billionaire Eugene Schvidler, in the Moray Firth. Picture supplied by WDC/charliephillips.

Mr Shvidler was among a party of three men and a woman, all believed to be Russian, who turned up on cycles and left in a limousine after enjoying Italian coffee and home-baked German cakes.

They were able to take advantage of the UK government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme which aims to get the coronavirus-hit hospitality industry back on its feet by offering a 50 per cent discount to diners up to the value of £10 per person.

Mr and Mrs Schulz, who are originally from Germany, have run the four-star guest house for the past four years but opened the café just a few weeks ago.

They had just an hour’s notice of the visit by Mr Shvidler and his companions when a man – whom he assumed to be a tour manager – called in to check whether the party could be accommodated and to check the premises.

Mr Schulz said he did not get any preferential treatment.

“I said he would be treated like the 80-year-old lady around the corner,” he said.

“I said he would not get any extra service.

“I think he enjoyed himself while he was here and just being like everyone else.

“I think he wanted to be like a normal tourist doing all the normal tourist things.”

Due to the weather, the group opted to sit inside the historic building which was previously a manse for the Free Church of Scotland.

Mr Schulz also revealed that Mr Shvidler was interested in the selection of whiskies but unfortunately he was unable to serve him as he is only licensed to serve residents at the guesthouse.

“He was in his cycling gear,” he said.

“They arrived on bikes and left in a limousine.”

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