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Dutch Defense Ministry employee arrested for exporting aircraft parts to Russia

by Elsa Court September 18, 2023 2:42 PM 3 min read
An image of the Fiscal Information and Investigation Service of the Netherlands (Website of the Tax and Customs administration of the Netherlands). 
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Two men in the Netherlands, one of whom works for the Dutch Defense Ministry, have been arrested on suspicion of evading sanctions against Russia, the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) announced on Sept. 15.

Both men are from Arnhem, a city in the east of the country, and are thought to have worked together to export plane parts to Russia immediately after the start of the full-scale invasion in February 2022.

The first suspect, a 53-year-old man, was arrested on Aug. 29. The second suspect, a 48-year-old employee of the Defense Ministry, was arrested on Aug. 30.

Searches at a home, business premises, and a storage space have revealed €250,000 ($267,000) and $ 8,000 in cash, as well as aircraft parts, weapons, and ammunition.

The men were involved with the export of aircraft parts to Russia via the United Arab Emirates and Tajikistan, according to the Dutch investigative journalism website Follow the Money.

While the Dutch Public Prosecution Service is investigating dozens of cases of suspected sanctions circumvention, this case is entirely unique, Krijn Schramade, a journalist from Follow the Money, told the Kyiv Independent.  

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It is the first case where the suspect is thought to have profited from business with Russia while employed by a government ministry that regularly sends military support to Ukraine, Schramade said.

The man is "likely a soldier, not a civil servant," and the investigations concern his business dealings, which took place separate from his main job, Schramade explained.

Follow the Money found out that the man had worked at the Defense Ministry since the 1990s, but his employment has now been suspended. His suspected business partner is thought to have no connection to the Dutch Defense Ministry.

On Sept. 14, the pre-trial detention for both suspects was extended for 60 days.

The investigation is being carried out by the Dutch Functional Public Prosecutor's Office, which combats economic fraud, after receiving information from the country's Financial Intelligence Unit.

The military police are also involved in the investigation due to the involvement of a Defense Ministry employee.

Investigative Stories from Ukraine: Pro-Russian politicians under sanctions in US, EU – yet not in Ukraine
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