The UK government has been formally requested to disclose the measures it has undertaken to probe the potential involvement of Sheikh Mansour Russia Connectionbin Zayed Al Nahyan, the owner of Manchester City, in aiding affluent Russians subject to sanctions in transferring their assets to the United Arab Emirates.
In a recent development, legal representatives representing a Ukrainian activist, who has chosen to remain anonymous due to concerns about potential retaliation from Russia, have penned a letter to the Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly. The letter seeks clarification on whether any inquiries have been conducted to assess whether Mansour, the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, should be classified as a “designated individual” eligible for financial sanctions under the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations of 2019.
In a recent update, the United Kingdom government reported that, as of the previous week, sanctions had been applied to over 1,800 individuals in a staggering 1,600 cases since Russia initiated its invasion of Ukraine back in February 2022. Among those affected by these measures is the former owner of Chelsea Football Club, Roman Abramovich. His assets, including the football team itself, were frozen, which ultimately led to a group under the direction of American businessman Todd Boehly taking over the Premier League team the summer before.
In a development in the ongoing Sheikh Mansour Russia Connection case, a formal request for an update has been made. Rhys Davies of Temple Garden Chambers and Ben Keith of 5 St Andrew’s Hill Chambers, who are the client’s legal representatives, sent an initial letter before making this request. The said letter was dispatched to Mr. Cleverly in September of the previous year.
The Foreign Secretary is authorized to label an individual as an “involved person” in the destabilization of Ukraine only when there are credible reasons to suspect their connection to such activities. Being involved is defined as taking responsibility for, participating in, offering support to, or advocating any policy or action that leads to the destabilisation of Ukraine or undermines its territorial integrity.
In the event that Sheikh Mansour Russia Connection were to be singled out for government sanctions, such a designation would render him ineligible to serve as an owner according to the revised regulations governing ownership and directorship qualifications in the Premier League. These updated rules were officially unveiled in March of this year.
The recent letter, dispatched to Cleverly on Thursday and reviewed by the PA news agency, expresses:
“Sheikh Mansour is a particularly high-profile individual and as the owner of one of the United Kingdom’s most celebrated football clubs, is a person who ought to be subject to reasonable scrutiny by the UK Government.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we make no allegations as to any particular conduct of Sheikh Mansour. Nevertheless, in light of the wealth of evidence in the public domain tending to link Sheikh Mansour with the accommodation of wealthy Russians in the UAE, we respectfully suggest that there is a prima facie basis for the UK government to conduct an investigation.”
In anticipation of the upcoming Cop28 climate change conference scheduled to take place from November 30th to December 12th in the United Arab Emirates, a recently dispatched letter highlights the anticipated active involvement of Sheikh Mansour Russia Connection in the event.
“The bloodshed caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues,” the letter stated. “You are asked to note that, as set out in our earlier correspondence, notwithstanding the robust nature of the British response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many Russian oligarchs appear to have found a home for their wealth in the United Arab Emirates, with Dubai and Abu Dhabi apparently being particularly attractive to those individuals.
“In light of the global attention which will be focused on both the UAE and Sheikh Mansour at the forthcoming Cop28 event, we write to you to enquire what steps you have taken further to our request of September 30, 2022 to open an investigation into the conduct of Sheikh Mansour.
“You may recollect that we invited the UK government to consider whether or not the conduct of Sheikh Mansour is such that he is a suitable person to be designated, pursuant to the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. In the circumstances, it is critical that the UK Government takes all necessary steps consistent with its statutory and international obligations.”
According to a representative from the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO), the United Kingdom has intensified its diplomatic efforts with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to tackle Russian attempts at circumventing sanctions. Encouragingly, there has been notable headway in this endeavor, exemplified by the recent decision of the UAE to revoke the license of Russia’s MTS Bank.
“We will not tolerate attempts to help Russian oligarchs hide their assets in complex financial networks and in April introduced a sanctions package to crack down on their enablers.”
In a news update, the Foreign, Commonwealth, & Development Office (FCDO) has declined to provide comments regarding potential future designations. However, the department acknowledges the ongoing endeavors by Russia to evade sanctions. To address these concerns, the FCDO has intensified its diplomatic efforts with several third-party nations, which include the UAE, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Armenia, and Serbia.
The primary objective of these diplomatic engagements thus far has centered on thwarting Russia’s attempts to procure essential restricted materials required for the manufacturing of weaponry.
Efforts have also been made to seek comments from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Manchester City, and their responses are awaited.