Sunday, June 23, 2024

Six people arrested in Belgium, Netherlands on suspicion of dealing with rogue states – POLITICO

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BRUSSELS — Six people have been arrested on suspicion of exporting products for military and civilian use to countries subject to European Union sanctions, the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office announced Tuesday, after police raided businesses and homes in rural Belgium and the Netherlands.

“Some of the traded technology may fall under embargo regulations applicable to certain countries, such as Russia, particularly due to armed conflict,” the agency said in a press release.

Police searched “houses and company headquarters” in Knokke-Heist and Eklo in Belgium’s Flanders region, as well as in Rotterdam and Sluis in the Netherlands, the statement said.

“The investigation will need to determine whether these strategic and protected technologies could have been sold to Belgium and other countries for which the European Parliament has imposed legal restrictions.”

Four people were detained for questioning in Belgium and two in the Netherlands. The raid was part of a joint investigation with the U.S. government.

A statement from prosecutors said dual-use objects “can be used for both civilian and military purposes, such as drones and missiles. Examples include microchips, accelerometers, and turbine engines.”

The EU imposes restrictions on trade in dual-use goods and technology with several countries. These include Russia and Belarus, which played a role in Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, as well as North Korea and Iran.

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