Belgium is investigating 30 breaches of sanctions against Russia
Belgian customs have checked over 27,000 shipping containers since the start of the war in Ukraine to check for breaches of the European sanctions against Russia, wrote De Standaard on Monday. In thirty cases, customs spotted an actual breach. Those will be handled by the Belgian public prosecutor's office.
Customs intercepted a variety of exported goods, ranging from parts for machinery, which can be used for both military and non-military purposes, to luxury goods and food products. Several parties were also caught importing gold, steel and petroleum products from Russia.
Since the investigations are still ongoing, the public prosecutor's office is not allowed to reveal any names, but involved parties are subject to a prison sentence of up to five years and a 25,000 euro fine.
The import and export of Russian goods have become one of the customs' priorities since the start of the sanctions, even though they did not receive any additional financial support for the checks. Shipments to and from Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Georgia are also under scrutiny, since those nations are often used as transit countries to avoid the sanctions.
Belgium is also trying to stop cash flows to and from Russia by sanctioning over 1000 persons. FPS Finance has frozen over 50 billion euros in suspicious assets and blocked over 200 billion euros in transactions so far, wrote De Standaard.
© BELGA PHOTO JONAS ROOSENS