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    Sikorski and money from pro-Russian Arabs. The last meeting took place just 2 months ago!

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    The new head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Radosław Sikorski, participated in a meeting of the advisory board of the Sir Bani Yas Forum just two months ago, as reported by Niezalezna.pl. The conference was established by the United Arab Emirates just over 10 years ago as a means of conducting international diplomacy through soft power. As revealed by Dutch media earlier this year, Sikorski receives $100,000 annually from the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is the country that enables Russia to bypass sanctions, assists the Wagner Group murderers, and was added to the “gray list” of countries laundering dirty money in March 2022.


    As verified by Niezalezna.pl, Sikorski participated in a meeting of the Sir Bani Yas Forum on October 17, 2023, just two days after the parliamentary elections in Poland. Similar meetings were held in April and May 2023, as reported by the portal.

    Sikorski also attended, funded by the UAE, in November 2022 when Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, was present at the same conference. At that time, there was no doubt that Abu Dhabi was an ally of Moscow. During the Russian-initiated war, the UAE took a favorable position for the Kremlin in the UN Security Council, abstaining from voting on the condemnation of the Russian “special military operation.” A few weeks later, the Emirates also abstained from voting on another resolution regarding the suspension of Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.

    In his latest financial statement as of May 9, 2023, Sikorski, a Member of the European Parliament, declared his extraparliamentary income, including advisory services through his company Sikorski Global. The statement mentions his membership in the Advisory Board of the Counter Extremism Project, Sir Bani Yas Conference, Gatehouse, public speaking engagements through Chartwell Speakers, university lectures, interviews, and articles. Clients typically cover travel and accommodation costs.

    He also declared, “Member of the Advisory Board Sir Bani Yas Conference (ongoing collaboration).” In 2022 alone, Sikorski Global brought him an income of PLN 1.7 million. Now, after taking on the role of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sikorski had to suspend the activities of his advisory firm.

    Sikorski has been a member of the advisory board of the Sir Bani Yas Forum since 2017 and has been receiving generous compensation from the UAE government since then. Even back then, the ties between the Emirates and Russia were more than close. In June 2018, the UAE and Russia signed a declaration of strategic partnership, and a month later, they urged the United States to lift sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine (in exchange, Russians would help Americans end Iranian military presence in Syria). In 2019, the United Arab Emirates purchased anti-tank weapons from Russia worth $710 million.

    As stated in the Soufan Center report, “long before the war in Ukraine, global experts assessed that Moscow was using the UAE to bypass U.S. efforts to impose sanctions on Moscow’s allies and partners.” This mainly involved gold, a global hard currency exchangeable for dollars or other monetary assets. Initially, gold trade through Abu Dhabi served Turkey and Iran as a tool to evade energy sanctions imposed on Iran. Later, Russia supported the heavily sanctioned socialist regime of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro by transporting tons of gold from Venezuela to the UAE, where it was exchanged for U.S. dollars and euros. However, the recent actions of the Emirates in this regard are particularly outrageous.

    “In 2017, a Kremlin-linked private military company, the Wagner Group, was deployed to Sudan to suppress local uprisings against the dictatorship of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. As payment, a Russian entity belonging to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the financier of the Wagner Group and an ally of President Vladimir Putin, was granted exclusive rights to gold mining in Sudan. The UAE declared importing gold from Sudan in 2020 worth $1.77 billion. According to some reports, up to 90% of Sudanese gold is smuggled from the country and often routed through the UAE, where it is laundered,” warns the Soufan Center.

    In March 2022, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international organization initiated by the G7, placed the United Arab Emirates on the so-called gray list (alongside countries such as Barbados, Burkina Faso, the Cayman Islands, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Panama, Syria, and Uganda). The timing of this decision was not coincidental, as the FATF was particularly concerned about the growing trend of laundering Russian money in the UAE. This was well-described in the “Open Letter on Adding the UAE to the EU’s Gray List for Anti-Money Laundering” addressed to the European Commission:

    “[…] a large data leak in 2018 revealed how individuals subject to sanctions and other persons associated with organized crime, corruption, and other suspicious enrichment chose the United Arab Emirates to invest in expensive real estate to safely place their criminal proceeds. This report provided additional evidence of the structural weaknesses in the UAE’s anti-money laundering/counter-terrorism financing systems. Recently, journalists also identified several members of the Russian political elite and businessmen closely associated with the Kremlin who apparently used the opaque financial system of the UAE to store their wealth, potentially undermining the effective implementation of targeted sanctions.”

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