The Hong Kong government is refusing to act on a sanctioned Russian superyacht in the city’s harbour following its arrival on Wednesday. The ship is worth over $500 million and belongs to a billionaire ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has been subject to sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
US officials have warned that Hong Kong could become a safe haven for Russian oligarchs. But the government of Hong Kong has declined to act on the yacht, saying it was unlikely to violate sanctions on the oligarch. However, there is a risk that Hong Kong-based financial institutions could be affected by secondary sanctions imposed by the United States or the EU.
The Russian superyacht Nord, valued at around $521 million, was recently spotted in Hong Kong’s harbour. The vessel is believed to belong to Russian oligarch Nikolai Mordashov. The vessel is currently sailing under the Russian flag.
Mordashov, a former Russian businessman, had been the richest man in Russia before the Ukrainian war. His Severstal company built a fortune of $29.1 billion. Among his yacht assets is the Nord, a luxury yacht with two helipads and more than a dozen cabins.