Russia's MTS bank has UAE licence -central bank website

Vehicles stop at a red light in front of the main branch of UAE Central Bank in Abu Dhabi
Vehicles stop at a red light in front of the main branch of UAE Central Bank in Abu Dhabi, January 29, 2013. REUTERS/Ben Job

DUBAI, Feb 8 (Reuters) - The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates has granted a licence to Russia's MTS Bank, according to information on its website.

MTS Bank is registered in Abu Dhabi and received the licence last year, the information shows.

It is a fintech unit of Russia's largest mobile operator Mobile TeleSystems. The Financial Times reported the approval from the central bank earlier on Wednesday.

Sweeping Western sanctions against Russia have not yet directly targeted telecoms infrastructure, meaning MTS does not face the same restrictions as some banks and energy companies.

Conglomerate Sistema (AFKS.MM) holds a 42.09% stake in MTS. Last year, Russian billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov gave up formal shareholder control of Sistema after Britain imposed sanctions on him, by transferring a 10% stake to his son.

Entities controlled by sanctioned individuals can also be subject to restrictions. Yevtushenkov cut his Sistema stake to 49.2% in April.

Russians were the top non-resident buyers of residential property in Dubai in the third quarter, consultancy Betterhomes said in October, as they seek a safe haven from the Ukraine conflict.

The UAE, like Saudi Arabia, is a member of the OPEC+ oil alliance that includes Russia and has maintained good ties with Moscow despite Western pressure to help isolate Russia over the invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls its "special military operation".

Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh; editing by Jason Neely and Tomasz Janowski

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