Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, faces criminal investigation in the UK for helping Russian billionaires circumvent sanctions.
The UK Foreign Office has received intelligence from international criminal lawyers Rhys Davies and Ben Keith that Sheikh Mansour plays a “central role” in the flow of sanctioned money into the UAE, writes Middle East eye. In particular, the sheikh helped Roman Abramovich and other unnamed Russian billionaires.
As lawyers note, the UAE “is now widely perceived as a destination for Putin supporters under sanctions.” Russian billionaires sanctioned by the West for the war in Ukraine are “increasingly turning to the office of Sheikh Mansour” to hide their income, lawyers say.
According to them, more than 38 businessmen and officials who are directly connected with the President of Russia own property worth more than $314 billion in the UAE. For example, Abramovich hid his $350 million Boeing 787 Dreamliner in the UAE, and the yachts of metallurgical billionaire and State Duma deputy Andrei Skoch and billionaire Andrei Melnichenko moored in Dubai.
The investigation in the UK against the sheikh of the UAE will increase pressure on the authorities of the monarchy, but may exacerbate relations that have been allied until today. At the same time, lawyers are seeking sanctions from the British Foreign Office against the sheikh himself.
At the same time, a diplomatic adviser to Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan said earlier that the UAE is in “intense negotiations” with the United States over sanctions against Russians. “We are a dollar economy. Therefore, it is important for us to conduct such negotiations,” the adviser explained. However, he called for the Russians to be divided into those included in the sanctions lists and those who have nothing to do with the war and are looking for a “safe haven”.
U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo visited the UAE at the end of June, warning local authorities about the consequences of working with Russian representatives. The UAE has attracted the attention of the West after the share of private flights from Russia to the emirates rose from 3% to 14% since the start of the war in Ukraine.