Dubai new favorite destination for Russian oligarchs – Le1

Russian oligarchs, driven out of western capitals after Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, are warmly welcomed in Dubai, undermining the sanctions strategy desired by the United States and its allies.

“The strength of sanctions imposed on Russia is at the same time the weakest link in the Western strategy against Putin,” Adam Smith, a lawyer and former US Treasury Department adviser, told the New York Times. “Any financial center that is willing to do business, while others are not, could be a source of breaches in the levy and compromise overall measures.” he pointed out.

Asking a few questions about its guests’ sources of money, Dubai has become a popular playground for Russian fortune-tellers in recent years. At least 38 businessmen or officials linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin own dozens of properties in Dubai worth more than $314 million, according to unpublished data compiled by the Center for Advanced Defense Studies, a non-profit organization. Charming Washington, says the Times.

Putin’s oligarchs are believed to have at least 76 properties in Dubai, either directly or in the name of a close relative, and possibly many more, according to the said center. The owners include a former provincial governor and a nuclear power plant. Manager, a construction magnate and a former senator and a Belarusian tobacco magnate. Six of them are subject to sanctions by the United States or the European Union, and another oligarch targeted by such measures has set up a yacht there.

Incredible Emirati Hospitality

Western governments have been imposing massive sanctions on Russian financial institutions and Putin’s wealthy inner circle since the first week of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The sanctions also affected notoriously secret banking centers such as Switzerland, Monaco and the Cayman Islands, which have begun freezing accounts, confiscating mansions and confiscating boats.

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At the same time, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have openly expressed their reluctance to oppose the invasion. Calling for solidarity in the moment of crisis, each nation has instead prioritized relations with Moscow. Emirates and Saudi Arabia have rejected US calls to increase oil supplies to please energy markets. Egypt has accepted a $25 billion loan from Russia for a nuclear power plant.

The United Arab Emirates is perhaps the one whose position is most clear, if only because it currently holds a rotating seat on the UN Security Council. The Emirates refrained from voting on a resolution backed by the United States condemning the invasion and refused to criticize Russia. And Emirati officials have assured Russians that their officials will not enforce sanctions unless mandated by the United Nations – where Moscow’s veto opposes them.

Abdulkhaleq Abdullah, a political analyst from the United Arab Emirates, said, “If we are not breaking any international law, then there is no need to welcome anyone who comes to Dubai, or the United Arab Emirates or any other country lawfully. Don’t be blamed for trying.” of United Arab Emirates. “So what’s the problem? I don’t see why the West would complain.

An Arab businessman renting high-end serviced apartments in Dubai has described the “incredible demand” from Russians since the invasion. The cost of an open-ended lease on a three-bedroom beachfront apartment is $15,000 per month.

“Having a Russian passport or Russian money is very toxic now – no one wants to accept you except in places like Dubai,” a Russian businessman seeking asylum there told The New York Times. Speaking on condition of anonymity. “It’s not a problem to be Russian in Dubai”. Then, he shared with the newspaper an electronic invitation circulated among Russians in Dubai: “A rooftop cocktail party for venture capitalists and crypto start-ups.”

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Emirati shipping records show that a yacht belonging to oligarch Andrei Skoch, a steel magnate and member of the Duma, was hauled off Dubai in recent days.

In addition, a Bombardier business jet belonging to Arkady Rotenberg, another Russian billionaire targeted by Western sanctions, landed in Dubai on Friday. While planes and yachts from other elites, seen as potential US treasury targets, also flew back and forth in the UAE

The New York Times details the activities of the Russians in this Gulf country: “The yachts of at least three other oligarchs are currently based in Dubai. A 220-foot vessel belonging to a Russian metallurgist is on its way from the Seychelles. British football team A Boeing 787 Dreamliner of Chelsea-based Russian-born owner Roman Abramovich took off from the airport on Friday. The 460-foot superyacht belonging to another elite class took off on the same day after being added to the list of Russians targeted by European sanctions on Wednesday.

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