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The UAE central bank WILL cancel Russia's MTS bank licence


On March 31, The United Arab Emirates central bank said it would cancel the licence it granted last year to Russia's MTS bank following its addition to the British and U.S. sanctions in February.

MTS Bank,

  • MTS Bank, a fintech unit of Russia's largest mobile operator Mobile TeleSystems (MTSS.MM), was part of a broader sanctions package against 200 entities and individuals announced in February on the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
  • Russian conglomerate Sistema (AFKS.MM) holds a 42.09% stake in MTS. Russian billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov last year relinquished formal shareholder control of Sistema after Britain imposed sanctions on him, transferring a 10% stake to his son.


  • Operations at the bank's UAE branch, licensed in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, will be wound down within six months under UAE central bank supervision.
  • A statement from MTS Bank said:

"It would fulfil all settlement obligations to existing customers and guarantee the safety of their funds for six months."

  • The UAE central bank's statement said.

       "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,"

        During the winding down process, the branch will not be allowed to open new accounts or conduct transactions apart from clearing prior obligations, for which it will          be allowed to use the central bank's payment systems,  


  • The UAE, a member of the OPEC+ oil alliance that includes Russia, has maintained good ties with Moscow despite Western pressure to help to isolate Russia over the invasion of Ukraine. It has not matched the global sanctions imposed on Moscow.
  • Many Russians have sought a safe-haven in the UAE since the Ukraine conflict began.
  • S. officials have visited the UAE to discuss the importance of clamping down on sanctions evasion with regulators, including the central bank.

DUBAI, March 31 (Reuters) -


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