To get around the Western sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s war on Ukraine, many Russians have opted to use the United Arab Emirates as a base, similar to how Iranian businesses used the UAE to avoid Western sanctions, The New Arab reports.
The UAE provides lots of opportunities for that. For one, the UAE is aspiring to be an industrial hub for some Russian factories struggling to access the global market due to sanctions. Russian businesspeople and entrepreneurs have sought to move their businesses to Dubai to benefit from its global standing as a key financial hub.
Despite the UAE Chamber of Commerce’s confirmation that the country complies with the main sanctions against Russian oligarchs, it affirmed that it would not impose sanctions on ordinary Russian citizens. As The New Arab states, such policy choices effectively open the door for state-sponsored sanctions evasion.
The UAE also invited Russians to invest in property in the country, boosting the local real estate market. Russians lately had a problem moving their money around due to sanctions imposed on financial markets. However, in the UAE, Russians can utilize cryptocurrencies for sanctions evasion. For example, Coinsfera, an over-the-counter crypto exchange, allows Russians to buy crypto assets with local currency and sell them for hard cash in Dubai in minutes. The company is also helping Russian clients buy and sell real estate and luxury watches using cryptocurrencies.
But even the struggle with cash might soon be resolved in Russia, as The Moscow Exchange announced in June it will begin trading new currency pairs, including the UAE’s dirham.
Andrey Skabelin, the director of the Moscow Exchange’s foreign exchange market department, said: “We see growing interest in these currencies, and we understand that they will have liquidity. As a number of technical issues are resolved, we will launch these pairs.”
Reportedly, Russia is also seeking payment in UAE dirhams for oil exports to some Indian customers.
These are signs of a deepening relationship between Russia and the UAE. Attracting entrepreneurs, businesses, and money from Russia to OAE for any company from the democratic world should signal to be careful and double-check. Whenever you find a new business partner in the UAE, chances are this is a company with Russian beneficiaries and maybe even those on the sanction list.