By KANIS LEUNG and ZEN SOO – Associated Press
HONG KONG (AP) — A superyacht linked to sanctioned Russian tycoon Alexey Mordashov left Hong Kong for South Africa on Thursday, nearly two weeks after the United States accused the city of operating as a haven for sanctioned people .
The Navy Department confirmed that the $500 million Nord superyacht left Hong Kong on Thursday afternoon, but did not give details. Private ship tracking site MarineTraffic said it was heading for South Africa and was due to arrive in Cape Town on November 9.
The North arrived in Hong Kong on October 5 from Vladivostok, Russia, putting the Chinese territory in the crosshairs of US-China tensions.
The US State Department said the presence in Hong Kong of assets belonging to sanctioned individuals calls into question the “transparency of the business environment” in the city.
Hong Kong leader John Lee later said that if Hong Kong complied with United Nations sanctions, authorities “cannot do anything that has no legal basis” regarding sanctions imposed unilaterally by the United Nations. other jurisdictions. China’s Foreign Ministry called the US remarks “misleading”.
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Mordashov, who is believed to have close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is one of several Russian oligarchs sanctioned by the United States, United Kingdom and European Union following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. He tried to challenge the sanctions against him in European courts.
He is the main shareholder and chairman of Severstal, Russia’s largest steel and mining company. Mordashov is also one of Russia’s richest men, with Bloomberg estimating his net worth at over $19 billion.
US and European authorities have seized more than a dozen yachts belonging to sanctioned Russian tycoons to prevent them from entering other ports not covered by the sanctions.
Russian oligarchs began mooring their yachts in ports like Turkey, which maintained diplomatic relations with Russia during the war.
The North, which flies the Russian flag, is 141.6 meters (465 feet) long and has two helipads, a swimming pool and 20 cabins.
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