Air cargo consignment en route from Vietnam through Finland to Ukraine - Finnish Customs is investigating an export offence involving defence materiel
On 24 June 2014, an air cargo consignment that weighed slightly over one thousand kilograms and that arrived from Vietnam via Hong Kong was intercepted at Helsinki Airport. The consignment was a transit consignment en route to Ukraine. The consignment was selected for inspection based on Customs’ own risk analysis. On 27 June 2014, the consignment was subjected to a customs inspection, at which the airport police Tepo group and the Finnish Defence Forces provided administrative assistance. The consignment was subjected to a supplementary customs inspection on 18 July 2014.
The Customs Investigation Service has sent a request for expert statement to the Ministry of Defence in order to establish the defence materiel nature and the authorisation requirements of the consignment. According to the expert statements obtained, the consignment contains seekers for air-to-air missiles, and they have to be classified as defence materiel. According to the Finnish Act on the Export of Defence Materiel, transit through Finland requires an authorisation that shall be applied for from the Ministry of Defence. No transit authorisation has been applied for for the products in question.
Finnish Customs is investigating the case as an export offence involving defence materiel, and the goods in the consignment have been seized. The preliminary investigation of the case is in its early stages, and no apprehensions have been made in connection with the investigation. For the investigation of the criminal matter, international legal assistance in criminal matters will be requested from authorities in different countries. Due to this, the preliminary investigation is estimated to take at least six months.
The sentence for an export offence involving defence materiel is a fine or imprisonment for a maximum of four years.
The Customs Investigation Service handles the release of information in the matter. More information on the investigation will next be published on 1 October 2014 at 12 p.m. unless new, significant information emerges before that date.
Head of the Enforcement Department of Finnish Customs, Director Sami Rakshit, tel. +358 40 332 2506.
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Finnish Customs is a part of the customs system of the European Union. Customs is a state agency supervised by the Ministry of Finance through management by results. Finnish Customs cooperates with the trade community as well as with domestic and foreign authorities. Finnish Customs has approximately 2 300 employees.
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