Hong Kong Won't Act on Sanctioned Russian Superyacht

Photo: Getty Images [via BBC News]

The Facts

  • On Tuesday, Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee announced that the city isn't going to seize the superyacht of a Russian businessman who is under Western sanctions. According to Lee, Hong Kong is accountable only to UN sanctions, not "unilateral" ones imposed by "individual jurisdictions."

  • Alexei Mordashov's more than $500M yacht, Nord, arrived in Hong Kong last week. Mordashov is one of Russia's wealthiest men and is believed to have close ties to Putin. The US, UK, and EU sanctioned the steel billionaire after Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year.

The Spin

Anti-China narrative

Hong Kong's decision to provide a safe haven for individuals evading sanctions from multiple jurisdictions has consequences. Its reputation as a financial center requires adherence and compliance with international standards, and its refusal to abide by those rules further calls into question the transparency of its business environment.

Pro-China narrative

The comments by the US State Department are misleading and nothing more than a smear campaign against Hong Kong’s business operations. The city — which abides by UN sanctions as required — has no legal obligation or authority to impose Western sanctions. Over the years, Hong Kong has maintained a free, open, law-based business climate and will continue to do so.

Establishment split



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