Law enforcement authorities from five countries have dismantled a suspected Dutch international smuggling network accused of violating export sanctions to Russia, seizing assets and arresting three individuals accused of running the operation, European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust) announced in a statement on Jan. 23.
At the end of 2023, Dutch authorities unravelled a web of enterprises used to avoid Russian sanctions and circumvent a export ban on electro-technical and laboratory equipment exports, "which could be used for military purposes," according to Eurojust.
"Two of the suspects were administrators of the main trading company. The third suspect is an employee of an external contractor, who is alleged to have been aware of the violation of the export ban. The trading company in question is now run by an administrator in Russia, who is also the sole shareholder," the statement reads.
Eurojust noted that law enforcement officers from Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, and Canada assisted the Netherlands in the investigation.
The Netherlands has previously taken legal action against those accused of violating export sanction associated with Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
In September 2023, a Dutch Defense Ministry employee and an associate were arrested for exporting aircraft parts to Russia, circumvention sanctions via the United Arab Emirates and Tajikistan. And in November 2023, a Dutch court convicted a Russian businessman, tried in absentia, for transporting microchips and other electronic goods to Russia. He received an 18-month prison term, and his company was fined 200,000 euros for violating EU-imposed sanctions.