Landmark Verdict in Sanctions Violation Case: 18-Month Prison Sentence and EUR 200,000 Fine

In a groundbreaking case, this week the District Court of Rotterdam sentenced an individual to 18 months in prison and imposed a EUR 200,000 fine on the company he de facto headed, for the violation of Russian sanctions. This marks a historic moment, as it is the first time in the Netherlands an individual was sentenced to prison for violating EU sanctions regulations and highlights the commitment of the Dutch authorities in countering circumvention of sanctions.


A Dutch company active in the trade of microchips and electronic goods and led by the sentenced individual (the ‘executive’) continued the export of these goods to Russia after this became prohibited under the sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union (“EU”) in February 2022 following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The company and the executive violated EU sanctions regulations over a period of seven months (February 2022 – September 2022). The executive had set up a structure to illegally export dual-use goods and military goods to Russia. He used fake companies, fake end user statements and fake invoices to enable the prohibited export of these items.


According to the District Court of Rotterdam, the executive deliberately and knowingly circumvented the EU-imposed restrictions. His actions significantly undermined the sanctions’ primary goal, which is to restrict the flow of crucial technology, potentially enhancing the technological capabilities of Russia’s defence and security sector, to Russia. Furthermore, through the creation of fraudulent invoices, the executive severely breached the trust that is typically placed in such documents within society and, particularly, international trade. Based on this, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison; the company must pay a fine of EUR 200,000.

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