Russian actress apologises for false asylum claim to enter SA to attend Hersov's swanky parties

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Actress Ieva Andrejevaite attends the Al Films and Warner Music Screening of 'Kill Your Friends' on October 27, 2015 in London, England.
Actress Ieva Andrejevaite attends the Al Films and Warner Music Screening of 'Kill Your Friends' on October 27, 2015 in London, England.
Dave Benett, Getty Images for Warner Music
  • Ieva Andrejevaite filed an asylum claim due to the war in Ukraine after being denied entry by immigration officials at Cape Town International Airport.
  • News24 reported that she made a bogus asylum claim in order to attend a series of parties hosted by billionaire Rob Hersov.
  • She has since issued a public apology for lying about wanting to claim asylum and has subsequently been deported.

Russian-born Lithuanian actor Ieva Andrejevaite has admitted to making a false asylum claim to enter South Africa to attend a series of parties in the country.

News24 reported in May that Andrejevaite came to South Africa to attend a series of parties hosted by billionaire Rob Hersov.

READ | Actress who filed 'bogus' asylum claim to attend party approaches court in bid to leave SA

She arrived on the plane of Ukranian-born billionaire businessman Sir Leonard Blavatnik as part of a group of people ferried in to attend the Hersov 100, a combined bash for Hersov and his wife, Kate, who turned 60 and 40 respectively.

However, Andrejevaite was denied entry into the country as she did not have a visa. She then filed an asylum claim, citing the ongoing war in Ukraine as the reason.

Despite this, Andrejevaite did not report to any of the refugee reception centres within the stipulated five-day period.

READ | The Russian actress, the billionaire’s party and the bogus asylum claim

She then launched an urgent application against the Department of Home Affairs, seeking to get her passport back so she could leave the country.

In withdrawing her asylum claim, she said that her "rights of privacy and confidentiality were severely" breached after her asylum claim was published in the media.

Andrejevaite said:

Pursuant to leaking of my whereabouts and information, I unfortunately realised that South Africa would not be able to provide me with safe asylum.

Andrejevaite was referring to articles published by News24 detailing her bogus asylum claim and linking her visit to Hersov's party.

The actor said the breach of her privacy as a prospective asylum seeker posed a threat to her safety and personal well-being in a country that had turned hostile toward her.

READ | Russian actress goes to ground after 'bogus' asylum claim to attend billionaire's Cape Town party

She also claimed to have been contacted on her cellphone, as well as via email, by journalists from Media24, which she said further exacerbated fears for her safety and privacy in South Africa.

Apology

In a statement, the Department of Home Affairs said it had opposed her ill-advised application and clearly set out the factual position of the department, exposing the lies in her affidavit.

The department added that while Andrejevaite did not attempt to apply for asylum, images of her attending a party in Cape Town hosted by Hersov surfaced on numerous publications and social media platforms.

"After being served with the Department's opposing papers, Ms Andrejevaite realised that she had lied to the immigration officials and then to the High Court and would face the possibility of criminal charges over and above the consequences and embarrassment stemming from her High Court application," home affairs spokesperson Siya Qoza said.

Qoza added:

On 2 June 2022, the Western Cape High Court ordered Ms Andrejevaite to apologise to South Africans, the Home Affairs Minister and the Department of Home Affairs officials.

In her apology, Andrejevaite said she arrived in South Africa without understanding that there would be a requirement for a visa.

Andrejevaite said:

I was looking forward to entering South Africa and enjoying my time here, and as such, I was wrongly advised to allege that I was an asylum seeker and applied for an asylum transit Visa.

She did not state who had advised her to lie about being an asylum seeker to gain entry into the country.

"This was clearly wrong and an unlawful way for me to try and enter South Africa. In doing so, I realise that I have caused great stress and have insulted this country, the Department of Home Affairs and its officials."

She also apologised for the disparaging comments made about the asylum seeker system and home affairs.

"I unreservedly withdraw such allegations and apologise for the same."

She added:

As a visitor, I should have accepted the laws of the country and accepted that I was not above the law.

Qoza said Andrejevaite "had also agreed to the costs incurred by the department, which opposed the farcical application".

"Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has instructed the Department to expeditiously recover all monies due to the State as a result of Ms Andrejevaite's bogus application."

Andrejevaite was processed for deportation on 5 June and declared an undesirable person by immigration officials. She is now prohibited from visiting South Africa for the next five years.

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