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Russians Are Dumping Cryptocurrency In The UAE In Search Of Safe Havens

According to industry executives and financial sources, crypto firms in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are being inundated with requests to liquidate billions of dollars of virtual currency as Russians seek a safe haven for their assets.

According to the sources, some clients are utilizing bitcoin to invest in real estate in the UAE, while others want to utilize firms in the UAE to convert their virtual money into actual currency and stow it elsewhere.

One crypto firm has received numerous requests in the last 10 days from Swiss brokers seeking to liquidate billions of dollars in bitcoin because their clients are afraid Switzerland will freeze their assets, according to one executive, who added that none of the requests were for less than $2 billion.

“We’ve had like five or six in the past two weeks. None of them have come off yet – they’ve sort of fallen over at the last minute, which is not rare – but we’ve never had this much interest,” According to the executive, his firm receives a request for a significant transaction once a month on average.

“We have one guy – I don’t know who he is, but he came through a broker – and they’re like, ‘we want to sell 125,000 bitcoin’. And I’m like, ‘what? That’s $6 billion guys’. And they’re like, ‘yeah, we’re going to send it to a company in Australia’,” the executive said.

The Swiss financial market regulator refuses to comment on bitcoin transaction numbers.

In an emailed statement, the country’s economic affairs secretariat (SECO) stated that crypto assets are subject to the same sanctions and measures that Switzerland has imposed on “normal” Russian assets and individuals, and that if a person is sanctioned, their crypto assets must also be frozen in Switzerland.

Dubai, the Gulf’s financial and economic center and a developing crypto hub, has long attracted the world’s ultra-rich, and the UAE’s refusal to take sides between Western friends and Moscow has signaled to Russians that their money is secure there.

One real estate broker, whose firm has teamed with a cryptocurrency business to assist individuals in purchasing property, stated: “We’ve been seeing a lot of Russians and even Belarusians coming to Dubai and bringing whatever they can bring, even in crypto.”

A financial source in the UAE confirmed that Russians were purchasing property in Dubai, utilizing cryptocurrency to transfer funds from other countries to the Gulf state.

While providing few details, cryptocurrency exchanges have stated that they are restricting the accounts of Russians sanctioned by the West due to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, which Russia refers to as a “special operation.”