Julia Shvytkina
02 December 2022 21: 01

For violation of anti-Russian sanctions - to prison for five years

The European Commission has declared it a criminal offense to circumvent EU sanctions against Russia.

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For violation of anti-Russian sanctions - to prison for five years

Individuals may be at risk up to five years in prison for violating and circumventing EU sanctions against the Russian Federation. Today, the European Commission approved a proposal to introduce these offenses to the list of crimes, it is mentioned in statement EC.

“Violation of EU sanctions is a serious criminal offence. The introduction of restrictive measures shows the difficulty of identifying assets owned by oligarchs who hide them in different jurisdictions using complex legal and financial structures., says the document.

The proposed directive, according to its sponsors, would establish the same level of punishment in all EU states, thereby closing existing legal loopholes and increasing the deterrent effect of violating anti-Russian sanctions.

“Depending on the offense, an individual may be subject to a maximum penalty of imprisonment for at least five years, companies may be subject to a fine of at least 5% of the total global turnover of the legal entity (company) in the year preceding the decision on the fine », - explained in the EC.

In addition, the document lists specific list of crimesthat violate EU sanctions:

  • providing funds or economic resources at the disposal or in favor of a person, organization or body on the sanctioned list and failing to freeze these funds;
  • enabling designated persons to enter the territory of a Member State or transit through the territory of a Member State;
  • entering into transactions with third countries that are prohibited or restricted by EU sanctions;
  • trade in goods or services, the import, export, sale, purchase, transfer, transit or transportation of which is prohibited or restricted;
  • providing financial activities that are prohibited or restricted;
  • providing other prohibited or restricted services, such as legal advice, trust services, and tax advisory services.

In addition, it is noted that offenses will cover circumvention of EU restrictive measuresMeaning “circumventing or attempting to circumvent restrictive measures by concealing funds or concealing the fact that a person is the ultimate owner of funds”, - added to the EC.

Now the proposal of the European Commission must be approved by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, after which it will take effect. After that, circumvention of anti-Russian sanctions will become an official criminal offense along with terrorism, human trafficking, sexual exploitation of women and children, drug and arms trafficking, money laundering, corruption, cybercrime and organized crime - these are the offenses that are considered as such throughout the EU.

Previously, we talked about UK continues to import Russian oil despite sanctions, and there exists at least 3 known schemes to circumvent anti-Russian restrictions and one of them is implemented at the level of legislation.

We also wrote that the President of Moldova Maya Sandu urged the European Union to impose sanctions against the Moldovan oppositionbecause in her opinion anti-government protestswho recently swept across the country, financed by the Russian Federation.

On November 28, the EU Council unanimously adopted a decision to include circumvention or violations of anti-Russian sanctions in the list of criminal offenses. After that, the European Commission was supposed to submit a document with basic rules regarding the definition of such crimes and punishment for them, which in fact was done.

Even then, the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova called  this decision "legal arbitrariness".

“We are dealing with double legal arbitrariness. This is all from the category of pseudo-legal exercises "- said Zakharova.

According to her, if such an initiative is implemented, the EU "finally bury the reputation" reliable jurisdiction for doing business.

It must be said that back in May of this year, the European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reinders argued that the decision to punish sanctions circumvention would pave the way for the confiscation of frozen Russian assets.

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