Ownership of leisure craft under EU sanctions still under investigation
Customs has made progress in its investigations concerning leisure craft detained due to sanctions against Russia. Further investigations on six leisure boats have indicated that parties on lists of sanctions are possibly linked to the boats. Customs has forwarded the cases to the distraint authorities. Customs has released five leisure boats. As for the other vessels, investigations still continue.
In March, Customs detained 21 leisure boats for further investigation based on the sanctions against Russia. In addition to these, Customs reported one vessel to the distraint authorities.
– We have carried out close international cooperation with various parties in order to find out the circumstances of ownership around the leisure boats. Some cases involve varied cover-up arrangements, and investigating them demands time and effort. Both in our enforcement controls and intelligence activity, we have relied heavily on the implementation of jointly agreed EU sanctions to the most effective extent possible, says Mr Sami Rakshit, Director of the Enforcement Department.
Further investigations on six leisure boats by Customs have indicated that persons or parties possibly included on the lists of EU sanctions against Russia and Belarus are linked to the vessels. Customs has notified the distraint authorities about the cases. As for decisions on the property of persons included in the lists of sanctions, the National Enforcement Authority is the implementing government agency.
In the cases of four vessels, further investigations gave no reason to suspect that they belong to persons or parties under sanctions. Customs cancelled the decisions on detaining the said vessels and released them on 18-19 May 2022. In addition to these, one boat was released previously.
As for the other leisure boats that Customs has detained, investigations will continue. Customs will release further information on the matter once further investigations are concluded.
The EU has imposed extensive sanctions against Russia and Belarus due to Russia’s attack on Ukraine. As the implementing authority, Customs is responsible for the monitoring of export and import sanctions agreed at EU level. Moreover, Customs assists in the identification and localisation of property of individuals and entities on the EU sanctions lists. This includes the detention of leisure craft, among other things.
Online news article from Customs (29 March 2022): Background information on the detention of leisure craft on the EU sanctions lists and the process of establishing ownership