More sanctions breaches noted in Latvia this year

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This year, a total of 500 cases of suspected violations of sanctions imposed on Russia have been noticed at the customs service. Meanwhile, the Financial Intelligence Service receives more and more reports of suspicious transactions that may have been attempted to circumvent sanctions, Latvian Television reported on March 20.

Last year, the Financial Intelligence Service received 281 reports on sanctions circumvention altogether, but 114 reports have been received this year already. Reports concern, for instance, employees of the banking sector and auditors. However, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues and new sanctions packages supplement the lists of sanctioned goods, the focus is shifting.

“This year, with a tenth round of sanctions, the emphasis is on dual-operability goods – goods that can be used in casual consumption but can also be used for war purposes, like building a rocket,” said Toms Platacis, chief executive of the Financial Intelligence Service.

Countries involved as intermediaries are also changing. In early February, for example, an embargo on petroleum products came into force. Atis Pīlāts, head of the State Revenue Service's Customs Administration Risk Management Division, said that “other countries are emerging where the origin of these goods, such as petroleum products, is indicated – now we see it being imported from China.”

In general, there is increasing suspicion for customs of goods with the country of origin indicated as Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan.

Though the suspicion is rising, convictions are still pending. The prosecutor's office had launched 121 proceedings by the end of February, but only about 10 have been sent for trial.

As reported earlier by LSM, in 2022, the Customs Office of the State Revenue Service (VID) identified 3,000 cases of the transfer of goods subject to sanctions across the border.

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