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Andrey Melnichenko was in a bind. Squeezed by European sanctions targeting Russian billionaires, one of Russia’s richest men needed a safe jurisdiction to protect the businesses he’d built. He found it in the United Arab Emirates.

Moscow-based coal producer SUEK and Zug, Switzerland-based fertilizer firm EuroChem, both founded by Melnichenko, are opening local trading units in the Gulf oil exporter, according to five people with knowledge of the matter. The 50-year-old resigned from the boards of both companies ahead of EU sanctions imposed over his alleged ties to the Kremlin. Swiss authorities said in May they’d unfrozen EuroChem’s accounts after Melnichenko transferred ownership to his wife.

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