Of these, more than 1,300 cases were under targeted supervision and about 300 cases were sent for preliminary investigation. Sanctions have also had a significant impact on the international flow of goods.
The nine sanctions packages of the past year have comprehensively modified the EU’s sanctions against Russia, and the categories of goods covered by the sanctions are extensive. Customs supervises the enforcement of export and import sanctions for cross-border flows of goods.
Customs has tried to implement sanctions control comprehensively right from the first sanctions package. Sami Rakshit, head of the enforcement department, stated that they have actively highlighted the phenomena that hindered the effectiveness of the sanctions and, if necessary, have blocked leaks in the sanctions regulations.
Goods traffic on Finland’s eastern border has decreased significantly due to sanctions. Based on the information received, Customs supervises the sanctions as widely as possible and screens the products subject to sanctions from the flow of goods based on a risk analysis. In addition, customs helps in identifying and locating the assets of persons and entities on the EU sanctions list.
Export shipments subject to sanctions have included many IT products, other high-tech products and luxury products, but the variation is very wide due to the scope of the sanctions.
The need for customs inspections has increased due to the scale of export and import sanctions, and Customs has directed its resources as needed. During the year, Customs has carried out targeted inspections on more than 1,300 shipments of goods and sent a separate statement request for about 650 shipments to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has finally decided whether the product is subject to sanctions or not.
The sanctions imposed by the EU against Russia have also had a significant impact on the international trade in goods. Currently, 95% of Finland’s international trade is transported by sea. The number of companies doing business with Russia has decreased significantly. Customs has estimated that currently around 40 Finnish companies import products from Russia and around 220 companies export to Russia.
Most of the transports subject to sanctions were stopped in road traffic. Preliminary investigations related to the violation of export sanctions were started on shipments containing computers, phones, drones, routers, microchips and microcontrollers, as well as products related to boats and boating. Customs has also started a preliminary investigation into the transport of luxury goods and cash to Russia.
In total, more than 300 statutory offenses were the subject of the preliminary investigation. Of these, approximately 140 had a limited preliminary investigation for fines, and approximately 190 cases had a regular preliminary investigation due to sanction violations.
Last year saw a huge increase in the number of suspected regulatory offenses sent for preliminary investigation. Usually there have been a few cases a year, but last year there were more than three hundred. About ten cases are being prosecuted, and in some cases the courts have handed down convictions. The processes are therefore long, says the Enforcement Director Hannu Sinkkonen.
Source: The Nordic Page