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Finland unveils scheme: 3,500 drones supplied to Russia bypassing sanctions

Finland unveils scheme: 3,500 drones supplied to Russia bypassing sanctions Scheme involving the delivery of 3,500 drones to Russia was uncovered in Finland (Photo:
Author: Daria Shekina

Law enforcement in Finland exposed a scheme involving the evasion of EU sanctions. Companies were supplying drones to Russia worth millions of euros, according to the Finnish customs service.

"Customs authorities are investigating a criminal case suspected of involving products falling under EU sanctions and being exported by two Finnish companies to Russia," the statement reads.

It is noted that the products were transited through Russia and were documented for export to other countries. The items consisted of electronics, drones, and equipment classified as defense-related.

Two Finnish companies are suspected of over thirty export operations, allegedly resulting in goods worth over 600,000 euros ending up in Russia.

Russia allegedly received nearly 3,500 unmanned aerial vehicles

The customs suspect that nearly 3500 unmanned aerial vehicles ended up in Russia. The products were cleared for export to another country, with the drones' value totaling over two million euros.

Additionally, the same crime includes suspicion regarding the transit through Russia to Kazakhstan in the spring of 2023 of equipment classified as defense technology intended for counter-drone measures.

Transiting the mentioned products would have required permission for the transit of defense equipment. The customs also suspect that this production, with a total value of over 350,000 euros, ended up in Russia.

One of the suspects was successfully detained

There is one common responsible individual in the investigated companies. The customs suspect that one of the companies operated as a procurement firm aiming to acquire sanctioned products. Similarly, the other investigated company acted as an expediter of goods to Russia.

"Based on the preliminary investigation, there are grounds to believe that the operations were conducted from Russia. During the operation, a large network of international companies was established, allowing the operation to be financed, for instance, from Russia," says the supervising director Hannu Sinkkonen.

He states that Finland collaborated with authorities from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the USA, as well as Europol. At the national level, cooperation, particularly with the police, is ongoing.

In total, six individuals are suspected of the crime, one of whom has been in custody since September. The case will be handed over to the prosecutor's office in December 2023.