Germany arrests a man accused of illegally exporting electronic components for drones to Russia
Jun 18, 2023
A German-Russian dual citizen has been arrested in Germany on allegations of violating the country's foreign trade act multiple times by exporting electronic components to a company in Russia involved in the production of military materiel and accessories, Germany's federal prosecutor's office said Tuesday.
The suspect, who was only identified as Waldemar W. in line with Germany privacy rules, was arrested in March. However, on Monday, the arrest warrant issued by a local court in the city of Mannheim at the time was replaced by an arrest warrant issued by an investigating judge of the country's Federal Supreme Court.
The federal prosecutor's office said that W. was managing director of two companies he founded in the western German state of Saarland for international trade in electronic components.
In the period from January 2020 to March 2023, he exported electronic components on 26 occasions to a company in Russia whose production included the “Orlan 10” drone currently used by the Russian armed forces in its war against Ukraine.
Components of the type supplied by the suspect are a common component of this type of drone and are covered by the European Union's Russia Embargo Regulation, the prosecutor's office said in a written statement.
In order to circumvent the EU sanctions, W. generally first imported the goods in question from abroad to Germany and then exported them to Russia — in part via a company he controlled in the southwestern German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.
The exports were initially made to two civilian dummy companies based in Russia. In consultation with W., these companies ensured that the goods were forwarded to the military manufacturer. After the start of the war in Ukraine in February 2022, the suspect switched to transporting the goods to Russia via Dubai and Lithuania, among other places, with the help of ostensible recipients in third countries
The total value of the illegally exported components amounts to about 715,000 euros ($773,000).