UAE revokes licence of sanctioned Russian bank – Middle East Monitor


The central bank of the United Arab Emirates said today it will revoke the license it granted last year to Russia’s MTS bank, which was placed under British and US sanctions in February. Reuters reports.

Operations at the bank’s UAE branch, which is licensed in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, will be wound down within six months under the supervision of the central bank.

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

During the termination process the branch will not be allowed to open new accounts or carry out transactions other than clearing prior obligations, for which it will be allowed to use the central bank’s payment systems.

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The UAE, a member of the OPEC+ oil alliance that includes Russia, has maintained good ties with Moscow despite Western pressure to isolate Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. It did not match the global sanctions imposed on Moscow.

A large number of Russians have sought safe haven in the UAE since the conflict in Ukraine began. US officials visited the UAE to discuss with regulators including the central bank the importance of preventing sanctions evasion.

MTS Bank, a fintech unit of Russia’s largest mobile operator Mobile TeleSystems MTSS.MM, was part of a wider package of sanctions against 200 entities and individuals announced in February on the centenary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

MTS had no immediate comment.

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