Sweden – companies called to Foreign Ministry to explain possible circumvention

It is being reported (e.g. here and here) that a number of large Swedish companies have been called to the Foreign Ministry to attend a meeting also attended by a number of other authorities.

The meeting concerned information received by Sweden from the European Commission about exports to Russia which may have been in breach of, or circumvented, the EU’s sanctions.

The companies called to attend the meeting included Atlas Copco, Ericsson, Volvo, SKF and Sandvik.

The companies deny breaches of sanctions.

The Swedish authorities are now considering what further action to take.

Netherlands – court permits sanctions defendant to resume trading pending trial

Further to our earlier post from July 2023 concerning raids and an arrest in the Netherlands of a 41-year old on suspicion of breaching Russian sanctions, the District Court of Rotterdam has released a judgment concerning a pre-trial application by the accused seeking the release from attachment of the stock in trade of his business.

The criminal trial is stated as “not expected to take place until the autumn at the earliest”.

The court granted the application, ruling that “the complainant has (for some time now) no other source of income, while his fixed costs continue” and that “the interest of the complainant in being able to trade in the company stock … and thus obtain some income, outweighs” the government’s interest in maintaining the attachment.


Estonia – charges against individuals for alleged Russian sanctions breaches

Further to our earlier post, it is being reported that Estonia’s Office of the Prosecutor General has laid charges against Mati-Dmitri Terestal and Elena Cherysheva on suspicion of breaching the EU’s Russian sanctions.

It is alleged that the defendants received €500,000 funds from a designated person, and made economic resources (in the form of their services) available to a designated person – namely Dmitry Kiselyov, the Director General of Rossiya Segodnya which operated in Estonia as Sputnik.

Germany – trial starts of three individuals accused of drone exports to Russia

Further to our earlier post about the laying of charges against three individuals accused of exporting drones and drone parts to Russia in breach of the EU’s sanctions, the criminal trial of these individuals started on Friday.

The three are, between them, accused of 54 counts of breaching sanctions.

The conduct is alleged to have included exports to front companies in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Hong Kong, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, and of deceiving component suppliers based in the US by saying that Germany was to be the final destination of the products.

Germany – charges laid in relation to exports to China

The German Federal Prosecutor’s office issued a press release earlier today in relation to the charging of three individuals for alleged export control violations.

The three charged are German nationals named as Herwig F., Ina F. and Thomas R.

It is alleged that the three were working for or on behalf of a Chinese intelligence agency and that they worked to procure information in relation to technology with military application, including ship engines.

The defendants are also charged with the unlicensed export of a laser to china in breach of the EU’s Dual-Use Regulation.


Latvia – arrest on suspicion of breaching US sanctions

The US Department of Justice has issued a press release confirming that the Latvian authorities have arrested a 55-year old, Oleg Chistyakov.

He has been charged with multiple counts of breaching US sanctions and other offences as part of an alleged wider conspiracy with two other also-charged individuals to supply avionics materials to Russia in breach of US sanctions.

The man was arrested near Riga on 19 March pending proceedings for extradition to the United States.

Estonia – arrest and detention of journalist for alleged Russian sanctions breach

It is being reported today that a further journalist, Svetlana Burtseva, associated with the Russian media group Rossiya Segodnya has been arrested on suspicion of breaching EU sanctions.

The journalist was arrested in early March and is currently in detention.

This is a further Estonian example, see our earlier post, of a charge being brought on the basis that under EU sanctions services amount to an “economic resource” and to provide services to a designated person is to breach the asset freeze.

Cyprus – investigation into potential attempted sanctions circumvention

It has been reported today that the Company Registrar in Cyprus, alongside the Cyprus Bar Association, are investigating an instance of possible Russian sanctions breaches.

The investigation relates to allegations that two days after additions to the OFAC SDN list a Cypriot company newly-filed documents purporting to show corporate rearrangements dating back several years which is accurate and reliable would remove the company from the impact of the US listing.

It is unclear whether the investigation relates to any breaches of the EU’s sanctions.


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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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