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Police officers weraing face masks patrol on the street early evening in Tokyo, Japan on April 26, 2021. (David Mareuil/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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A Russian has been arrested in Japan on suspicion of evading sanctions for the first time, Japanese news outlet Nikkei reported on July 10.

A 38-year-old man named Andrei Sova was reportedly arrested in Osaka Prefecture, suspected of illegally exporting jet skis, boat engines, and second-hand motorcycles worth 43 million yen ($266,000), which could be used by the Russian military, Nikkei said.

Investigators believe that Sova used his firm Astrade to export dual-use components to South Korea around July 2022, after export restrictions to Russia increased following the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The police are investigating whether the company was trying to hide transactions with Russia, Nikkei said.

Sova is suspected of exporting the items to South Korea via a container ship in January 2023, "despite knowing that the items were subject to export restrictions," Japanese newspaper Chunichi Shimbun said.

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According to Astrade's website, the company strives to "overcome language, cultural, mental, and geographical barriers" and appears to be involved in the import of Russian food and household items to Japan.  

Astrade claims to have "over 10 years of unique experience, skills, and connections in the fields of trade, wholesale distribution, and logistics in Japan, Russia, and CIS countries," referring to the Commonwealth of Independent States, a grouping of nine former Soviet republics.

The website does not appear to indicate that it exports dual-use items like engines but a video from February 2010 published on a YouTube channel named "andreysova" shows used bicycles in a shipping container, with the description of "loading in Osaka" and a link to Astrade's website.

Other videos on the channel appear to show the demonstration of a boat engine and other heavy machinery.

Russian search engine Yandex indicates that a company named Astrade Co Ltd was operating at an address in Vladivostok, the largest Russian port city on the Pacific. Andrei Sova appears to have a Facebook profile that indicates he lives in Osaka and studied at Russia's Far Eastern Federal University, which is based in Vladivostok.

The company is categorized by Yandex as a shop that sells cars and automotive parts but is currently listed as closed for business.

Bloomberg names 12 oligarchs who earn billions in payouts from Russia’s war economy
Russia’s wartime economy has earned a dozen oligarchs $11 billion in dividends as Russian natural resource and finance giants earn record profits during the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Bloomberg reported on July 9.

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