Russian tycoons approach Man City owner for penthouses, cars in UAE
- Other US allies, including Israel and India, have taken a similar position
- The Ministry of Presidential Affairs, led by Sheikh Mansour, has provided greater assistance since the invasion
- Some are shopping for penthouses in Dubai, while others want to buy luxury cars
Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan is best known as owner of English football champion Manchester City outside the United Arab Emirates. At home, he is a powerful member of the royal family.
Sheikh Mansour also has a behind-the-scenes role that has become increasingly important in recent months. News agency Bloomberg reported that Sheikh Mansour is known for helping manage relationships with wealthy Russians looking to move money into the UAE.
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While Sheikh Mansour has long been involved in cultivating UAE-Russia relations, the importance and complexities of that position have grown since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Even as the US, EU and other countries have blitzed Russia with thousands of new financial restrictions, the UAE has not imposed any sanction. Officials in the Middle Eastern nation have taken the stance that Abu Dhabi respects international law but isn't required to follow measures implemented by specific countries and that the UAE has the right to adopt its own policies, several people familiar with their thinking said.
Other US allies, including Israel and India, have taken a similar position.
That approach has fuelled concern among some Western officials who are worried about holes in their own sanctions programs.
Earlier, Deputy US Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo voiced Washington's worries about Russian tycoons moving assets to the UAE in a call with UAE officials, Bloomberg reported quoting sources.
Senior government officials, rich businessmen and finance executives from Russia are increasingly approaching Sheikh Mansour and his office for help managing UAE government processes, adding that Russians have grown more interested in investing in the Middle Eastern nation since the invasion of Ukraine.
Some are shopping for penthouses in Dubai, while others want to buy luxury cars or need help setting up bank accounts and financial firms.
The Ministry of Presidential Affairs, led by Sheikh Mansour, has provided greater assistance since the invasion.
UAE officials consider Sheikh Mansour's efforts to be part of the government's broader strategy to attract global business and maintain strategic ties with the East and the West, according to several of the people.
The Russia-UAE relationship is particularly relevant given their cooperation within the OPEC+ alliance of oil-exporting nations, they said.
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Earlier this year, a spokesperson at the UAE's Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism told Bloomberg that the country will continue to pursue deeper collaboration with foreign partners on monitoring international flows of money.