Cape Town wants to block sanctioned Russian businessman’s R9 billion ‘superyacht’ from landing in South Africa

 ·24 Oct 2022

Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis is moving to block a sanctioned R9 billion superyacht – owned by Russian businessman Alexey Mordashov – from landing in the Mother City.

Bloomberg reported last week (21 October) that the Nord, a 142-metre-long superyacht – weighed anchor on Thursday (20 October) and departed for South Africa from Hong Kong, expected to arrive in Cape Town on 9 November.

Hill-Lewis said that he has written to the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, requesting her intervention to block the entry of the vessel and requesting that Mordashov not be allowed to enter the country.

“To the best of our knowledge, Mr Mordashov is aboard the vessel and intends to enter South Africa through the port of Cape Town. If this happens, Mr Mordashov — and his luxury yacht — will be considered to be guests of the South African state,” the Cape Town mayor said.

The Cape Town mayor said that if the yacht is allowed to dock in South Africa, it would pose a moral crisis for the country and damage its reputation and standing as a peace-loving nation.

He added that South Africa has a moral duty to do what it can to protest unjust war, state terrorism, and the gross violation of human rights.

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

“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. Many thousands of people have died, and many more have had their homes destroyed and their lives torn apart.”

Mordashov is the main shareholder and chairman of Severstal, Russia’s biggest steel company. The steel industry is of key strategic significance to the government of Russia and of the Russian war effort.

He is also chairman of the company Severgroup, which is a major shareholder of Bank Rossiya, of which he personally owns a considerable share, the mayor said.

“Following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, Bank Rossiya expanded aggressively into the region, opening branches in both Crimea and Sevastopol, forcing the economic integration of Ukrainian territory into Russia. Accordingly, Mr Mordashov has personally derived financial benefit from illegal activities,” Hill-Lewis said.

Read: Sanctioned Russian businessman’s R9 billion ‘superyacht’ heading to South Africa

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