United Kingdom – HMRC corrects/changes description of earlier fine to withdraw reference to Russian sanctions

Back in April we posted about a Compound Penalty imposed by HMRC on a company for breaching the UK’s Russian Sanctions Regulations.

The company was fined £1,058,781.79.

HMRC has today issued a changed Notice to Exporters about this fine. The changed description removes any reference to the UK’s Russian sanctions regulations and replaces it with:

March 2024 – £1,058,781.79 was paid relating to the unlicensed exports of dual use goods controlled by Retained Regulation 428/2009“.

No explanation for the change is given.

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.

United Kingdom – HMRC issues £2.3m in compound penalties for sanctions and export controls breaches

His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the body empowered to enforce export controls and trade sanctions in the UK, has today published two Notices to Exporters setting out compound penalties  in relation to Russian sanctions and export control violations.

The first Notice, in relation to an unnamed company,  relates to a penalty of £1,058,781.79 imposed for breaches of the UK’s Russian sanctions regulation.

No information is given as to the nature of the conduct, the value of the goods, or why a criminal prosecution was not brought. There is no mention of a confiscation of the proceeds of crime.

The second Notice relates to export control violations that are not described as breaches of the UK’s sanction. Again no information is given as to the names of the companies, the nature of the violations, or an indication given as to the confiscation of the proceeds of crime.

To quote the Notice:

The 6 settlements made by UK companies were:

    • January 2024 – £12,700.00 was paid for a breach of licence conditions in relation to the export of military goods
    • February 2024 – £33,822.64 was paid relating to the unlicensed exports of military goods controlled by The Export Control Order 2008
    • February 2024 – £971,726.00 was paid relating to the unlicensed exports of military goods controlled by The Export Control Order 2008
    • February 2024 – £139,841.85 was paid relating to the unlicensed exports of military goods controlled by The Export Control Order 2008 and dual use goods controlled by Retained Regulation 428/2009
    • March 2024 – £92,817.40 was paid relating to the unlicensed exports of military goods controlled by The Export Control Order 2008
    • March 2024 – £56,915.27 was paid relating to the unlicensed exports of military goods controlled by The Export Control Order 2008“.

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.

 

Lithuania – Customs Department launches investigation into exports to Russia

Following press reporting into allegations that the Viciūnai Group of companies were exporting sanctioned goods to Russia, it is now being reported that the Lithuanian Customs Department has commenced a pre-trial investigation.

The allegations include that dual use and “battlefield” goods were being exported to a factory in Kaliningrad operated by a related company.

It is reported that the company has confirmed the fact of the exports, but claims that it was not aware that the goods in question (which includes ball bearings, semi-conductors, electrical components and other goods) were subject to sanctions.

 

Germany – two charged for exporting drone components in breach of Russian sanctions

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office in Germany has charged two individuals (named as Waldemar W. and Natalie S.) with the export of electronic drone components to Russian in breach of EU sanctions.

The components were first imported into Germany and then exported via Kyrgyzstan and Hong-Kong. The charges relates to 54 separate shipments up to March 2023. The shipments date from both before and since the large-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The total value of the components is stated as €875,000.

Waldemar W was the managing director of two involved companies incorporated in Saarland wand Natalie S managed a company in Baden-Württemberg. It is alleged that suppliers were provided with false end-user information which purported to confirm that the goods were to remain in Germany.

Waldemar W. has been in custody since 9 March 2023. Natalie S. was in custody previously but was subsequently released.

 

Netherlands – three arrested on suspicion of circumventing Russian sanctions

The Dutch FIOD has today announced three arrests as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into suspected  exports in circumvention of the EU’s trade sanctions against Russia.

The individuals are two men from Diemen and a woman from The Hague. The men were both directors of a company founded in 2017, and the arrested woman was an employee.

UPDATE: it is now being reported that the Dutch company involved is ETW-Tekhnologiya and that the company’s founder, Mikhail Volovik,  is being sought but has not yet been arrested

The goods are described as technological and laboratory goods capable of military use – i.e. dual-use goods.

Searches and witness interviews have taken place in the Netherlands, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Canada.

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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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