BRUSSELS (AP) — Six people have been taken into custody in Belgium and the Netherlands in connection with an inquiry into suspected exports of “sensitive” products and technology that might be banned under sanctions against Russia, Belgian prosecutors said Tuesday.
The investigation was launched following a tipoff and information provided by unidentified U.S. “government agencies,” prosecutors said in a statement. They said the agencies were investigating illegal exports of dual-use goods and money laundering in the United States.
The six were detained during searches of private homes and company headquarters in Knokke-Heist and Eeklo in Belgium, and just over the border in Sluis and Rotterdam, Netherlands, the statement said. No names of suspects or companies were provided.
The 27-nation European Union has imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Part of the aim is to stop high-tech and other products with possible military uses from reaching the Russian armed forces. The U.S. has taken similar steps.
At the end of October, a Dutch court convicted a Russian businessman of exporting computer chips and other electronic products to the Russian arms and defense industry in violation of EU sanctions and sentenced him to 18 months in jail.
For more than seven months, the businessman exported “dual-use” products that can have both civil and military applications to companies linked to the arms industry in Russia.
The court ruled that he faked invoices for the exports and sent them to Russia via a company in the Maldives. His company was fined 200,000 euros ($212,000).
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