We begin our tour in British newspapers from the Guardian newspaper and a report by John Enguide-Thomas, titled: “Activists say Dubai should be blacklisted after failing to fight Russian oligarchy.”
The report notes that activists and politicians have called for the UAE to be blacklisted for its failure to curb the flow of “dirty money” and its failure to assist other countries in implementing the sanctions imposed on the Russian oligarchs were imposed.
The report adds that the Gulf state has emerged as a major haven for wealthy Russians fleeing the impact of global sanctions, as their private jets and giant yachts depart for the Emirates following the invasion of Ukraine.
“Dubai has always been a safe place for dirty money,” Bill Browder, a financial expert and critic of Vladimir Putin’s regime, told the Guardian. “It should now be blacklisted and its leaders should not be welcome here.”
He added to the newspaper that secondary sanctions should be imposed on the UAE unless it provides aid to countries seeking the assets of the Russian oligarchs.
And the Guardian reported that last week it became clear that more than three months ago, one of the world’s most expensive private jets, belonging to the former owner of Chelsea Football Club, Roman Abramovich, landed in Dubai.
It cited the US Department of Justice as confirming that the last recorded flight of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, valued at $350 million, was from Moscow to Dubai on March 4.
The UAE was “greylisted” by the global watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in March for failings in its measures to combat money laundering and other financial crimes, and there are now calls for it to be included in similar international lists, according to the paper.
The report indicated that officials in the UAE do not believe they are obliged to implement the sanctions imposed by other countries, but insist they are working to address the concerns raised by the Financial Action Task Force is, to address.
The £240m yacht, which is linked to billionaire Andrey Melnichenko, was spotted on marine tracking systems at a port in the northern emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, according to the Financial Times.
The yacht “Madame Go” is also linked to Andrei Skoch, a billionaire and Russian member of parliament who is under sanctions by the United States, Britain and the European Union. The luxury yacht is also subject to US sanctions, but its location is unknown. The last reported appearance in Dubai was on March 6, according to the newspaper.
The report indicated that Dubai’s role as a haven for the Russian elite since the Ukrainian invasion has re-emphasized its measures to combat money laundering and illicit money. An investigation published last month in a data leak revealed that there are many Russian property owners in Dubai accused or convicted of crimes or under international sanctions, including businessmen close to the Kremlin.
The newspaper quoted Kira Marie Peter Hansen, a Danish member of the European Parliament, as saying that the latest investigation revealed how the UAE is a “safe haven for criminal proceeds, corrupt officials and Russian oligarchs.” “We want to blacklist the UAE, especially in light of the large number of Russian oligarchs who use the state to avoid sanctions,” she said.
The Guardian concluded its report by saying that Emirati officials did not respond to her request for comment.
Saudi Arabia is entering the world of golf and changing the rules of the game
We turn to the Financial Times and a report by its reporter Samuel Aguiney titled: “Saudi Arabia’s two billion dollar investment in the game of golf is changing the rules of the global game.”
Earlier this week, one of the game’s most accomplished and marketable players, Phil Mickelson, attended the opening of an exclusive private golf course outside London, but he was not wearing the logos of any of his sponsors.
He pointed out that these days he has more financial backers than his previous sponsors, after his participation in the new “LIV Golf Investments” tournament, a separate league that threatens to overturn the status quo of golf.
The report indicates that the new tournament was financed by at least two billion dollars, by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, which is worth 620 billion dollars. He adds that the total prize money is 250 million dollars, which is the highest number among the game’s competition rewards.
The author says a rumored $200 million fee was paid to Mickelson, who has a massive following, as well as adding credibility to this week’s event at a private club in Hertfordshire, which is being run by the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund arranged.
The Financial Times indicated that the player refused to comment on the details of his contract and the number was not confirmed.
The newspaper adds that the players have been criticized by activists for accepting large fees, as the new league is backed by a country that “has faced Western criticism for its poor human rights record, the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the hands of Saudi agents in 2018, and its military operations in Yemen.”
She confirmed that Mickelson himself had previously strongly criticized the Saudis, saying they were “scary eyes” in the event of involvement with them. He added, “We know that they were killed [جمال] Khashoggi and they have a terrible human rights record. People are executed there because they are gay. After knowing all this, why do I accept all this? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reform how the PGA works.”
And the newspaper believed that the current controversy is the latest indication that Saudi Arabia’s oil wealth is shaking up world sport, following the Public Investment Fund’s £305m acquisition of Newcastle United Football Club last October and its purchase of a stake In the group that owns McLaren racing gear, in addition to state oil company Aramco’s sponsorship of the Formula 1 race, now held in Jeddah.
She noted that the investments from the Public Investment Fund are designed to reduce the Saudi economy’s dependence on oil and support the conservative kingdom’s modernization plan.
But some activists accused Saudi Arabia of “sports washing” to improve the country’s image, according to the Financial Times.
Simon Chadwick, professor of Eurasian sports at the Emilion School of Entrepreneurship in Paris, acknowledged the “reputational and image benefits that can come from being associated with the best golfers in the world,” but pointed to broader reasons for Saudi investment in the ” LI Championship”. .” in”.
“The state encourages people to play golf, especially women, as the government seeks to bring about positive social change,” he said.
“In addition, there are tourism objectives; the government in Riyadh wants to attract tourism dollars for the growing number of golf courses in Saudi Arabia,” he told the newspaper.
At a pre-tournament press conference on Thursday, some players gave “strange” answers to justify their participation, according to the Financial Times. “I do not condone human rights abuses at all,” Michelson said.
Others could not say whether they will play in a tournament organized by Russian President Vladimir Putin.