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Main War — 45 criminal cases are being investigated in the Netherlands to circumvent EU sanctions against Russia

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45 criminal cases are being investigated in the Netherlands to circumvent EU sanctions against Russia

05 Mar, 2023
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45 criminal cases are being investigated in the Netherlands to circumvent EU sanctions against Russia

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The Dutch prosecutor's office opened 45 criminal cases against companies and individuals suspected of circumventing sanctions against Russia.

RTL Nieuws writes about this. It is noted that at the end of 2022, 27 such cases were opened, but the country's prosecutor general's office admits that there will be more investigations.

"It is to be expected that the longer the sanctions are in place, the more circumventions there will be," spokesman Els Martens said.

Of the 45 criminal investigations currently underway, 29 are related to violations of import and export sanctions. Other investigations concern violations of financial sanctions.

"At least one criminal investigation is already pending in court. Dmitry K. is suspected of exporting microchips and, possibly, drones to Russia, including through Kazakhstan. However, the court has not yet considered this case on its merits," writes the media.

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Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Dutch customs have been monitoring new rules for transporting goods from and to Russia and Belarus, writes RTL Nieuws. More than 100,000 inspections were carried out during the year. 357 times the cargo was stopped for additional control. Luxury goods were found, but military goods or parts for helicopters were also found.

It is noted that direct exports from EU countries to Russia fell sharply after the imposition of sanctions. But exports to countries close to Russia and exports from these countries further to Russia are increasing. This may indicate an attempt to circumvent the imposed sanctions.

An example is export to Kyrgyzstan. United Nations trade data (Comtrade) shows that between March and November 2022, exports from the Netherlands grew by 142% compared to the same period a year earlier. Exports from Kyrgyzstan to Russia increased over this period by 233%. Exports from other neighboring countries to Russia also increased.

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Dutch Customs is also seeing an increase in trade with Russia's neighbors following the imposition of sanctions.

"This is because the parties are exploring new markets. At the same time, we are very attentive to whether this is also happening for the delivery of goods to Russia through the back door. This means that we have also installed more checks there than before" , says Pieter van Buitenen, Regional Director of Customs at the Port of Rotterdam. He added that customs had adapted the control strategy.

"The main goal of the sanctions legislation is to stop the war in Ukraine. Any company that circumvents this sanctions legislation contributes to prolonging the war," the Dutch prosecutor's office noted. Circumvention of sanctions legislation is punishable by imprisonment for up to six years, community service, or a fine of up to 90 thousand euros.


The Odessa Journal

The Odessa Journal

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