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The preliminary investigation regarding the suspected sanctions circumvention in the tugboat case continues

Publication date 29.9.2023 13.47
Press release

The Finnish Customs preliminary investigation regarding sanctions circumvention in the case of the tugboat sold in Finland continues. The case is being investigated as an aggravated regulation offence.

On 14 August 2023, Finnish Customs initiated a preliminary investigation regarding a tugboat sold in Finland, which ended up in Russia. The EU sanctions prohibit all exports of watercraft to Russia.

Thus far, several persons have been questioned in the preliminary investigation, and Customs has cooperated closely with both national and international parties. Preliminary investigations regarding sanctions circumventions often require multidisciplinary cooperation with other countries, which also affects the duration of the investigation.

Based on the preliminary investigation, there is reason to suspect attempted sanctions circumvention.

Finnish Customs is responsible for the control of circumventions of sanctions on goods and for the related criminal investigations in Finland

The role of Customs as a preliminary investigation authority is connected to the investigation of cross border customs offences, and most of the suspected sanctions offences are such offences.

The number of suspected regulation offences has multiplied because of the EU sanctions on Russia due to the attack on Ukraine. Since February 2022, Customs has initiated over 600 preliminary investigations, of which more than 60 are investigated as aggravated regulation offences. Before this, only a few suspected regulation offences were investigated yearly.

Customs will publish more information about the preliminary investigation concerning the tugboat as the criminal investigation progresses.

Media release