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Megayacht Nord

The 465-foot superyacht "Nord", reportedly owned by sanctioned Russian oligarch Alexei Mordashov is seen in Hong Kong, China, October 20, 2022. REUTERS/Donny Kwok

South Africa Welcomes Sanctioned Russian Yacht

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October 26, 2022

By Paul Burkhardt (Bloomberg) South Africa’s government said it has “no reason” to apply sanctions brought against Russian tycoon Alexey Mordashov and that his $500 million megayacht is free to dock at its ports.

Mordashov is the biggest shareholder in steelmaker Severstal PJSC and was sanctioned by the European Union, the UK and US after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The mogul’s 465-foot (142-meter) Nord passed north of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, on Tuesday and is expected to arrive in Cape Town on Nov. 9, ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg shows.

Geordin Hill-Lewis, Cape Town’s mayor and a member of the main opposition Democratic Alliance, on Monday called for the vessel to be denied entry. But the government, which in March abstained from a United Nations vote condemning the invasion, rejected the plea.  

“South Africa has no legal obligation to abide by sanctions imposed by the US and EU,” Vincent Magwenya, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesman, told reporters Tuesday in Pretoria, the capital. “We have no reason to prevent their entry into South Africa.”

Mordashov, Russia’s third-richest person, has been in Moscow since the Nord’s earlier arrival in Hong Kong, a spokesperson for the billionaire said last week. The spokesperson declined to comment on the vessel’s movements. 

“South Africa’s obligations with respect to sanctions relate only to those that are specifically adopted by the United Nations,” Magwenya said. “Currently there are no UN-imposed sanctions on the particular individual.”

By Paul Burkhardt and Paul Vecchiatto © 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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