Dutch Defense Ministry employee arrested for selling airplane parts to Russia

THE HAGUE - A 48-year-old employee of the Ministry of Defense from Arnhem has been arrested on suspicion of circumventing sanctions against Russia. He is suspected of sending aircraft parts to Russia through an intermediary. 


This has been prohibited since sanctions were imposed on Russia following Russia's invasion of Ukraine last February. The man was arrested on Aug. 30, the financial crimes inspectorate, FIOD, reported in a press release. 


Furthermore, ammunition was also found at the man's apartment. In addition, the FIOD seized administrative information and digital data devices. 


The Ministry of Defense did not provide further details about the man, as the investigation is still ongoing. The 48-year-old suspect has been suspended and is in police custody. According to Follow The Money, the man has worked for the defense sector since the 1990s. 


The case came to light after a 53-year-old man from Arnhem was arrested a day earlier. "The suspect ran a Dutch company that exported aircraft parts mainly to Russia," FIOD said. He allegedly exported the goods to Russia via "alternative countries." 


During the search of an apartment, business premises and storage rooms, aircraft parts, weapons, cartridge cases as well and ammunition were seized. In addition to €250,000 and $8,000 in cash, the FIOD also seized approximately €160,000 in bank deposits. Information from this investigation led to the arrest of the Defense employee. As he is employed by the Ministry of Defense, the Marechaussee military branch is also involved in the investigation. 


According to FIOD, the examining magistrate remanded the suspect into custody for 14 days on Friday, September 1. Both me were then ordered to remain in pre-trial detention for at least an additional 60 days during hearings held on Thursday, September 14. 


The case came to light as a result of information from the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which investigates transactions and money flows related to money laundering and terrorist financing. 


Sanctions against Russia are often circumvented by selling goods to intermediaries in third countries. These include countries in Central Asia, the Middle East, and China. The European Union has also taken steps to crack down on such practices in its 11th sanctions package against Russia, but it remains difficult. 


Overall, dozens of criminal investigations are underway at the prosecutor's office for evading sanctions against Russia. In March, there were already 45 such cases.