Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the owner of Manchester City Football Club and the deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, might be the subject of an inquiry for allegedly helping Russian oligarchs avoid sanctions.
The UK Foreign Office may look into Sheikh Mansour's interactions with prominent Russian billionaires including Roman Abramovich and former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
According to The Telegraph, Sheikh Mansour has been "central" to the flow of sanctioned Russian assets to the UAE since the invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, according to a legal submission made to the Foreign Secretary on behalf of a Ukrainian activist by international criminal lawyers Rhys Davies and Ben Keith.
Sheikh Mansour has been charged with helping several Russians under sanctions move their assets to the UAE in order to "conspicuously enjoy their wealth."
According to the legal filing, the Gulf state is now "widely perceived to be the destination of choice for sanctioned supporters of Putin," and numerous Russian oligarchs are purportedly "increasingly approaching Sheikh Mansour's office" to conceal their assets.
More than 38 businesses or officials connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin are said to hold properties in Dubai worth more than $314 million (€318 million), according to information provided by the two.
The Boeing Dreamliner owned formerly by Roman Abramovich, owner of Chelsea, is rumored to be valued £320 million (€367 million) and has been based in Dubai since the conflict started.
Similar to this, some of the most costly superyachts in the world are now parked in the UAE, including the £140 million (€160 million) yacht owned by billionaire Andrei Skoch and a £270 million (€310 million) ship reputedly owned by billionaire Andrey Melnichenko.
According to The Telegraph, the letter requests that UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly look into if Sheikh Mansour has committed any crimes and whether he needs to be punished personally.
"The UK Government has shown itself to be one of Ukraine’s strongest supporters in the West and it is imperative that the UK Government properly investigates anyone who they suspect might be supporting Russia’s unlawful invasion of Ukraine, however powerful they are and wherever they might be," according to barrister Mr. Davies.
The sanctions related to the situation in Ukraine, Mr. Keith continued, "are meant to prevent further bloodshed by discouraging aggression and violence. Anything that undermines the sanctions regime encourages further violence and suffering."
As previously reported, US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo sent a warning to the UAE's banking sector in June about Russian sanctions evasion.
Sec. Adeyemo warned that the UAE faced the "threat of illicit financial flows" when on a state visit there and emphasized the need for "vigilance and proactive action" to prevent potential sanctions evasion.
By fLEXI tEAM