A massive luxury superyacht owned by a Russian billionaire appeared in the harbors of Hong Kong on Friday amid continuing efforts to sanction the assets of Russian oligarchs.
Nord, a 466-foot yacht estimated to be worth over $500 million, was spotted by CNN dropping anchor in the city. The vessel, which is 1.5 times the size of a football field, is owned by Alexey Mordashov, a yacht broker told CNN. Mordashov, an industrial steel tycoon, is one of Russia's wealthiest businessmen, with Bloomberg reporting his net worth to be $18.7 billion.
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its eighth month, Mordashov is among the numerous Russian oligarchs who have been sanctioned by the west. Both the U.S. and the European Union slapped him with sanctions as a result of alleged ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
While Mordashov claims to have no ties to Putin's government, Nord arrived in Hong Kong following a week-long journey from the Russian city of Vladivostok, possibly in an attempt to avoid potential sanctions on the ship.
In a statement, Hong Kong marine officials said that they did not have any authority to take action on foreign sanctions. In a statement to the Financial Times, the U.S. State Department decried Hong Kong's decision to allow the vessel in its waters, saying, "The possible use of Hong Kong as a safe haven by individuals evading sanctions from multiple jurisdictions further calls into question the transparency of the business environment."