South Africa refuses to act on Russian oligarch’s sanctioned superyacht


A couple of weeks after Hong Kong refused to sanction a superyacht belonging to Russian oligarch Alexei Mordashov, South Africa has toed a similar line. Reportedly, the country will allow billionaire Mordashov to dock his yacht, named ‘The Nord’ in Cape Town. 

“South Africa has no legal obligation to abide by sanctions imposed by the US and EU,” said Vincent Magwenya, spokesman for President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

Magwenya added that Mordashov was not under any UN-sponsored sanctions and thus South Africa wasn’t required to impose any restrictions on him. 

“South Africa’s obligations with respect to sanctions relate only to those that are specifically adopted by the United Nations.”

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The decision by the South African government came against the backdrop of opposition party leaders requesting the administration to seize the 465-foot long yacht. 

Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis wrote a letter to International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor and called to block the Russian businessman. 

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“The international community has recognised Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its annexation of four areas of Ukrainian territory by force as illegal,” said Hill-Lewis. 

“Clear evidence exists for war crimes and crimes against humanity having been committed by the Russian state against the Ukrainian people, including deliberate attacks against civilian targets, massacres of civilians, torture, and the rape of women and children,” he added. 

As reported by WION, earlier this month, similar calls were raised in Hong Kong when Mordashov decided to dock his yacht in the city. At the time, Hong Kong leader John Lee said the city has “no legal basis” to act on Western sanctions. 

Read more: On Russian superyacht linked to Putin ally, Hong Kong leader says ‘no legal basis’ to act on the vessel

He added that Hong Kong instead would only abide by UN sanctions. “We will comply with United Nations sanctions, that is our system, that is our rule of law,” he said. 

Mordashov is a Russian billionaire, who is among a number of Russian oligarchs sanctioned by the European Union and the United States. But he was not United Nations. 

(With inputs from agencies)


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