On 24 June 2014, an air cargo consignment that had arrived from Vietnam via Hong Kong was intercepted at Helsinki Airport. It was a transit consignment en route to Ukraine. According to the expert statements obtained, the consignment contained seekers for air-to-air missiles, which 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 had been applied for for the products in question, and Customs started a preliminary investigation into the matter as an export offence involving defence materiel. The goods in the consignment were seized in July. The preliminary investigation revealed that the consignment in question was en route to Ukraine for repair and maintenance within the framework of the normal military cooperation between Ukraine and Vietnam.
On 10 September 2014, Customs cancelled the seizure of the seekers for air-to-air missiles, as it was not necessary in terms of the preliminary investigation to continue the seizure of the consignment. The consignment has been released to the declarant’s representative for customs formalities and export. The consignment can continue to its destination under the transit authorisation granted on 3 September 2014 by the Finnish Ministry of Defence.
Although the seizure was cancelled, Customs continues to investigate the case as an export offence involving defence materiel. Due to international requests for legal assistance, it is estimated that the investigation will take at least six months.
The Customs Investigation Service handles the release of information in the matter. More information on the investigation will be released when new, significant information regarding the matter emerges.
Enforcement Director Mr Petri Lounatmaa, tel. 040 332 2149
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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