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Sanctioned Russian oligarch's megayacht hides inside a UAE creek

Sanctioned Russian oligarch's megayacht hides inside a UAE creek

RAS AL-KHAIMAH, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In the dusty, northern-most sheikhdom of the United Arab Emirates, where laborers cycle by rustic tea shops, one of the world's largest yachts sits inside a quiet port — so a lengthy way avoiding the fate of other luxury vessels linked to sanctioned Russian oligarchs.

The display of lavish affluence is startling inside one of the UAE's poorest emirates, a 90-minute operate from the illuminated high-rises of Dubai. But the 118-meter (387-foot) Motor Yacht A's presence inside a Ras al-Khaimah creek excessively shows the UAE's neutrality all over Russia's war on Ukraine while the Gulf country remains a magnet for Russian money accompanied by every one one other accompanied by its oil-rich earliest city sees Moscow while a crucial OPEC partner.

Since Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, the septet sheikhdoms of the Emirates have offered a refuge for Russians, both those despairing of their country's future while well while the mega-wealthy worried concerning Western sanctions.

While a a large amount of of the world has piled sanctions on Russian institutions accompanied by every one one other accompanied by allies of President Vladimir Putin, the Emirates has not. It excessively avoids overt censure of the war, which management readouts still allude to to while the "Ukraine crisis."

The Motor Yacht A belongs to Andrey Melnichenko, an oligarch cost some $23.5 billion, according to Forbes. He on one instance ran the fertilizer manufacturer Eurochem accompanied by every one one other accompanied by SUEK, one the the world's largest coal companies.

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The European Union inside March included Melnichenko inside a pile list of sanctions on labour leaders accompanied by every one one other accompanied by others described while near to Putin. The EU sanctions noted he attended a Feb. 24 gathering Putin held the day of the invasion.

"The fact that he was invited to attend this gathering shows that he is a subscriber of the closest ring of Vladimir Putin accompanied by every one one other accompanied by that he is supporting or implementing actions or policies which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty accompanied by every one one other accompanied by self-government of Ukraine, while well while stability accompanied by every one one other accompanied by safety inside Ukraine," the EU said at the time.

Melnichenko resigned from the corporate positions he held inside the place of set of two greatest firms, according to statements from the companies. However, he has criticized Western sanctions accompanied by every one one other accompanied by denied actuality near to Putin.

Melnichenko could not exist reached for remark into with every one other accompanied by not here of his advisers.

Already, authorities inside Italy have seized one of his ships — the $600 million Sailing Yacht A. France, Spain accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Britain while well have sought to mark superyachts tied to Russian oligarchs while small part of a wider worldwide try to place pressure on Putin accompanied by every one one other accompanied by those near to him.

But the $300 million Motor Yacht A so a lengthy way appears untouched. It flew an Emirati banner on Tuesday when Associated Press journalists observed the ship. Two sailors members milled around the deck.

The boat's last recorded position on March 10 place it off the Maldives inside the Indian Ocean, fair over 3,000 kilometers (1,860 miles) from Ras al-Khaimah. Satellite images from Planet Labs PBC analyzed by the AP show the vessel inside Ras al-Khaimah's creek beginning March 17, a week later.

The Financial Times earliest reported on the ship's presence inside the UAE.

Authorities inside Ras al-Khaimah did not respond to a appeal for remark on the yacht's presence. The UAE's Foreign Ministry did not answer questions concerning the ship, nevertheless said inside a statement to the AP that it takes "its small portion inside protecting the integrity of the worldwide monetary system extremely seriously."

But so far, the UAE has taken no indeed indeed such condition deed targeting Russia. The country abstained on a U.N. Security Council ballot inside February condemning Russia's invasion, angering Washington.

The neutral response may stem from "the monetary gain we're seeing inside Dubai inside terms of new tourist arrivals, accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Russian efforts to go assets accompanied by every one one other accompanied by buy property," said Karen Young, a older fellow at the Washington-based Middle East Institute.

The sprint of Russian money — both legal accompanied by every one one other accompanied by shady — is now an not shut secret inside Dubai, where lavish hotels accompanied by every one one other accompanied by beaches increasingly bustle accompanied by Russian speakers. State-run radio hosts cheerily report a massive influx.

The UAE became one of the few residual flying corridors not here of Moscow. The Emirati management offered three-month multiple-entry visas upon coming to all Russians, allowing greatest companies to easily transfer their employees from Moscow to Dubai. The private jet terminal at Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central has seen a 400% spike inside traffic, the airport's CEO not lengthy ago told the AP.

Real possessions agents have reported a surge of attentiveness from Russians seeking to buy possessions inside Dubai, mostly inside the skyscrapers of Dubai Marina accompanied by every one one other accompanied by villas on the Palm Jumeirah.

For those who want to go to the UAE, buying high-end possessions excessively helps firm a visa.

"Business is booming fair now," said Thiago Caldas, CEO of the Dubai-based possessions firm Modern Living, which now accepts cryptocurrency to facilitate sales accompanied by new Russian clients. "They have a normal actuality accompanied by every one one other accompanied by don't face restrictions."

Caldas said inquiries from Russian clients inside Dubai have multiplied by over 10 since the war, forcing his firm to hire trio Russian-speaking agents to deal accompanied by the deluge.

With sanctions on Russian banks accompanied by every one one other accompanied by businesses thwarting numerous citizens' access to overseas capital, Russians are increasingly trying to bypass border transfers into with every one other accompanied by not here of digital currencies inside Dubai, said place of set of two cryptocurrency traders inside the city, where they're intelligent to liquidate large sums of cash.

"It's a protected from danger haven. … The inflow from Russian accounts skyrocketed 300% days following the war inside Ukraine began," said a Russian crypto trader inside Dubai, who spoke exist fond of the other on condition of anonymity for extreme terror of reprisals.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi's Mubadala condition investing firm remains among the most operative sovereign affluence funds inside Russia, down accompanied by those of China accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Qatar, according to calculations by Javier Capapé of IE University inside Spain for the AP.

But pressure is growing. Late on Tuesday, the U.S. Embassy inside Abu Dhabi posted a strongly worded video message inside solidarity accompanied by Ukraine featuring local ambassadors from the world's leading democracies while Russia's overseas minister visits the region.

"We are unified opposed to Russia's unjustifiable, unprovoked accompanied by every one one other accompanied by unlawful aggression," said Ernst Peter Fischer, Germany's ambassador to the UAE.

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Follow Isabel DeBre accompanied by every one one other accompanied by Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/isabeldebre accompanied by every one one other accompanied by www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.

Sanctioned Russian oligarch's megayacht hides inside a UAE creek

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