Hundreds of sanction breaches against Russia and Belarus, says VID

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The State Revenue Service (VID) has identified more than 400 cases of attempted infringement of sanctions imposed against Russia and Belarus, said Ieva Jaunzeme, director-general of the VID in an interview with LETA June 15.

She said that currently more than 10 criminal proceedings have been initiated on these cases.

According to Jaunzeme, it is mainly about goods that are included in the list of sanctions and cannot be imported. This applies, for example, to household appliances worth above €300.

Jaunzeme said that the infringements are mainly related to the falsification of contracts, because there are exceptions allowing goods to be imported if there is a contract made before the imposition of sanctions. Therefore, attempts are made to falsify contracts by changing their duration.

Jaunzeme acknowledged that the number of infringements is currently declining, but 'VID cannot relax yet.'

When asked what are the largest infringers - Latvian companies or Russian and Belarusian suppliers, Jaunzeme explained that it was not so simple as the chain was - customer, supplier, carrier, loader.

“It is not the truck driver who knows whether the goods he has are on the sanctions list or not, so the responsibility, in this case, lies with the customer and supplier, who probably hope that the cargo will not be noticed,” Jaunzeme said.

Asked how the war in Ukraine and the sanctions affected smuggling volumes, Jaunzeme acknowledged that smugglers are now finding it difficult because more controls are in place. 

“But another thing has developed right now. There were no passenger shipments from Russia or Belarus during the pandemic. Belarus has now introduced a visa-free regime and people are traveling to Belarus. Therefore, if we look at the amount of customs work, it is a lot more resources than the control of large trucks to see if every person has a bottle of vodka. There's more work. Plus we still have to control whether goods subject to sanctions are being imported, so it destroys our capacity. We cannot pretend that these cars are not traveling to Belarus,” Jaunzeme said.


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