Russians have reportedly been looking for ways to get their wealth out of the country amid a stranglehold of international sanctions and economic uncertainty. Reuters reports that one way being explored and used is cryptocurrency.
Russians Make Cryptocurrency Trading Request to Dubai Cryptocurrency Company
In their quest to make a fortune, the Russians are looking for countries that have not yet imposed sanctions on them. That's where Dubai and the UAE come in.
Reuters quoted cryptocurrency company executives who declined to be named as saying their companies were receiving more business advice than usual from the Russians.
We’ve had five or six in the last two weeks. None of them have fallen off yet – they fell at the last minute,…… but we’ve never had this much interest, said one executive
The report notes that these companies have also received inquiries from Belarusians. Some of these requests are for converting cryptocurrencies into cash to be stored in the country or elsewhere. Requests have also been made to buy real estate in Dubai with cryptocurrencies, according to a broker at a real estate company that accepts cryptocurrencies.
At the time of the war, the UAE was one of the countries that had not yet imposed sanctions on Russia. The two countries have maintained friendly relations in the past, so it is not surprising that Russians have fled to that country.
However, there are still concerns that sanctioned Russians may be able to evade sanctions through Dubai.
The UAE's neutrality towards Russia's "military operations" in Ukraine could also have an impact on its reputation as a global business hub. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the international money laundering regulator, has placed the country on a "grey list" to strengthen its supervision.
Global cryptocurrency exchanges have been imposing sanctions
Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency industry has been allaying concerns that digital assets can be used to evade sanctions. In an educational effort, market participants, including Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, have pointed out that the transparency of the blockchain makes cryptocurrencies a poor choice for evading sanctions.
Cryptocurrency exchanges have also been playing a role. Coin and Coinbase have revealed that they are working with authorities to ensure that any Russians facing sanctions are unable to use their exchanges. Coinbase recently revealed that it has compiled a list of sanctions to check transactions.