Dubai Opens Its Doors to Wealthy Russians Seeking To Avoid Sanctions

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This month, a modest terminal on the asphalt of Dubai airport, midway along its major runway, is doing brisk business. Hundreds of Russians have been deported on a daily basis. Many of them are among Vladimir Putin’s wealthiest personalities.

After a brief VIP reception and limousine journey, the oligarchs find themselves in a world. That is unconcerned about Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine or attempts to penalize Putin, preferring instead to applaud his accomplices.

The oligarchs and other well-heeled Russians are welcomed in Dubai, maybe more than anywhere else is in the world. Along with their vast fortunes, which are pouring into the UAE in unprecedented proportions – frequently through clandestine means.

The UAE really has not followed the lead of western governments in imposing sanctions in response to Ukraine’s invasion. As the influx settles into such an oil-rich monarchy that has plotted its own course on Putin’s Russia. Moreover, is not hesitant to highlight glaring tensions with the US, bankers, real estate agencies, auto shops, and marinas. That are reporting unprecedented demand for mansions, sports cars, or mooring space.

According to a regional intelligence source, most deals, from elite Dubai Properties Investment sales and leases, are conducted via cryptocurrency. Although some have been simple transfers from Russian financial companies tied to sanctioned tycoons. Such actions undermine US and EU sanctions against Russian leaders’ allies and serve as a powerful enticement. For the next generation of Russian entrepreneurs who dread the same destiny.

Russian investors are snapping up flats sight unseen, either purchasing them altogether. Alternatively, paying a year’s rent in advance, according to real estate agents in Dubai. Alan Pinto, a leasing consultant with Espace Property Investment in Dubai Marina , stated, “It’s been unbelievable.”

“Units are being purchased by a huge number of Russian investors.” We have gotten many calls, including some from tenants. They use cryptocurrency to move their funds. They have a middleman who will take care of it for them. And the money will subsequently be distributed to the landlords.”

Roman Abramovich, the billionaire and former owner of Chelsea Football Club. That is rumored to be looking for a luxurious base on Dubai’s famous foreshore, according to Dubai realtors. A yacht connected to him has been parked in neighboring Gulf seas. In addition, one of his jets was a frequent visitor to the airbase.

Abramovich’s real estate assets are being examined around the world, notably in the French Caribbean island of St Barts. Where he is a big owner of luxury villas in Gouverneur Bay, close to other oligarchs’ compounds.

He is thought to have paid significant improvements to public facilities. Such as roads and parking lots, in order to gain favor with local governments.

“It will be the same in Dubai Properties Investment,” claimed a real estate agent who recently sold two luxury villas worth up to $20 million to Russian investors. “They understand how to cope with the authorities and how to be decent neighbors.”

“Pinto observed, “A bunch of newer investors are pretty discreet.” They never buy directly; instead, they use firms to do it for them.” Commercial flights, like oligarchs’ jets, continue to fly between Moscow and Dubai.

The money flow between the two cities shows no signs of slowing. In addition, there has been some local reaction to the Financial Action Task Force’s decision earlier this month. To place the UAE on its “grey” list, implying that the provenance of certain money in the UAE could be questioned.

The UAE knew among bankers and power brokers. Moreover, global tycoons as a welcoming environment for business that asks few questions. Following initial registration of a firm, a residency permit, as well as a bank account, is required in 30 days. Permanent residency costs roughly $1.5 million, which is comparable to the cost of a luxury villa.

Employees at Major Banks Might Soon Be Able To Join

Goldman Sachs was one of the first American banks to declare the shutdown of its Russian operations. Prior to the conflict, which had about 80 workers in Moscow, with about half of them now relocating to Dubai. Although many staff is still in Russia, winding operations, a tiny proportion of JP Morgan’s 160-strong Moscow staff is also relocating. The simple availability of UAE visas has influenced the decision to relocate. Rothschild, whose financial advisory branch has opted to cease taking new Russian clients. Which is apparently relocating some of its Russia-based employees to the United Arab Emirates. Seeking comment from the bank did not return.

The UAE government claims to have taken considerable steps to control foreign currency inflows. Its eager absorption of Russian cash at a time when Putin’s financial tsars are under international scrutiny may put that assertion to the test. However, the connection between the UAE with Washington is even more vulnerable, as Emirati leaders move closer to China. Which, in addition to being a geopolitical opponent, is developing as a potential hub for an alternate financial system.

Cips, a Chinese cross-border payment service, Suggesting as a Swift alternative, a move that might alter global banking and mitigate the impact of sanctions on Russia. While such a move is unlikely in the short term, Emirati authorities have not been hesitant in expressing their anger with US President Joe Biden. Whom they believe had shied away from long-standing strategic cooperation at a time when Putin is willing to embrace them.

Yemen’s civil war has deepened the chasm. Houthi militants claimed credit for an alleged drone attack on Abu Dhabi in January. Which killed three individuals and caused flames to billow from an oil storage unit.

They have been particularly furious over Yemen and the reality that they did not get a phone conversation from Biden. After Abu Dhabi was targeted by Houthi-supplied drones and missiles. Said a Dubai-based expatriate with knowledge of the government’s position.

“At face value, the UAE appears to think they can traverse around US sanctions. But it may just be as well early for them to have internalized what these west anti-Russian sanctions drive really means.”  Said Julien Barnes Dacey, the head of the European Council for Foreign Relations’ Middle East and North Africa program.

“That’s difficult to say how much of it fits into the current feeling of Emirati hedging. Alternatively, whether they are actively attempting to deliver a message to Washington. That they’re upset with the US position as a whole and are willing to go their own way going forward.”

Bling is back in Dubai. Boulevards that were deafeningly quiet during the pandemic’s peak are now alive. With the noise of sports vehicles, some driven by locals and others by young Russians.

The world’s largest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa, stands above them, sparkling like a big Disney castle with a variety of light shows. At twilight, a Russian family takes shots of the building. One of the tourists tells his Emirati host. “It will be red, blue, & white shortly,” referring to Russia’s tricolor flag. “I’ll make it happen,” the host says, laughing.

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