Over 250 cases launched for goods movement sanctions violations

Since the introduction of sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus, the State Revenue Service (VID) has started more than 250 criminal proceedings for their violations, Raimonds Zukuls, Director of the VID Customs Administration, told Latvian Television's “Morning Panorama” on January 25.

He said that overall, more than 5,000 cases of imports and exports have been stopped by the VID since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Of these, criminal proceedings have been initiated in more than 250 cases.

144 criminal cases were opened last year and 114 in 2022.

Zukuls said that in most cases efforts to transfer electrical goods, various car parts, and luxury goods to Russia or Belarus were suspended, while timber products, fuel, fodder and metal products were mostly seized from sanctioned countries in Latvian customs.

Zukuls mentioned that, for example, plywood is trying to be imported into Latvia by indicating another country of origin, such as Kazakhstan. Fraudsters also tend to change commodity codes and changing values of luxury goods.

Meanwhile, smuggled goods transport has seen a drop, yet still most smuggled cigarettes are found in rail transport on the border with Belarus.

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