(Reuters) – a luxury luxury yacht Alexei Mordashov, who belongs to Russia’s sanctioned oligarch, has left Hong Kong waters for the South African port of Cape Town, according to private tracking website Marine Traffic.
The iconic sight of the 141-meter, multi-deck yacht Nord in the city’s Victoria Harbor in recent weeks has drawn criticism from the US State Department, which has questioned the financial center’s “transparency” and warned of reputational risks.
Mordashov, a billionaire close to President Vladimir PutinHe was among the many Russians sanctioned by the United States and the European Union, but not by the United Nations, yet Russia’s invasion of Ukrainefor his relations with Putin.
While a number of Russian giant yachts have been seized or denied entry to Europe and other jurisdictions, the Northern Ship was left undisturbed in Hong Kong after arriving on October 5.
The yacht, valued at more than $500 million, arrived via a seven-day voyage from Vladivostok in the Russian Far East, via the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea.
The Hong Kong Navy Department later confirmed that the northern ship had left Hong Kong on Thursday, but said it could not comment further.
Marine Traffic positioned the ship southeast of Hong Kong waters Thursday night, bound for the South China Sea.
An eyewitness saw a fuel barge next to the ship inside the port at noon.
Hong Kong leader John Lee said on October 11 that the city authorities would not act on unilateral sanctions imposed on Mordashov by individual judicial authorities.
“We can’t do anything that has no legal basis,” said Lee, who has been punished by the United States for his role in suppressing domestic liberties.
Li, who will host an international investment summit with world business leaders in November, said the Chinese-ruled city would only comply with UN sanctions.
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