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UAE Cancels License Of Russian Bank MTS

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The central bank of the United Arab Emirates announced on Friday that it would revoke the permit it had given to the Russian bank, MTS, which had been subject to British and American sanctions since February.

Under the oversight of the central bank, operations at the bank’s UAE branch, which holds an emirate of Abu Dhabi license, will be shut down within six months.

The UAE central bank said in a statement that “this decision comes after considering the available options regarding the new status of the MTS Bank and taking into account the sanctions risks associated with the bank.”

With the exception of paying off previous debts, which it may do with the help of the central bank’s payments system during the winding-down process, the branch will not be permitted to open new accounts or conduct transactions.

Despite pressure from the West to help isolate Russia over the invasion of Ukraine, the UAE, a member of the OPEC+ oil alliance that also includes Russia, has kept positive relations with Moscow. International sanctions against Moscow have not been matched by it.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, a significant number of Russians have sought refuge in the UAE. US representatives have traveled to the UAE to speak with authorities there, including the central bank, about how crucial it is to crack down on sanctions evasion.

A larger set of sanctions against 200 entities and people were revealed in February on the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. MTS Bank, a fintech division of Mobile TeleSystems, the largest mobile operator in Russia, was one of the targets.

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