When the products appeared in Russia a year later, they were approved by the European Union and Norway.
On April 12 this year, two hydraulic motors and some gaskets were cleared by customs to Russia.
The goods were going to a fishing company owned by Alexander Grigorievich Verkovsky, one of Russia’s richest men. He is a member of Vladimir Putin’s party and is blacklisted in Ukraine.
Verkovski is not on the sanctions list of Norway and the EU, but the substances have been since July last year.
The engines have a price tag of $122,978, and the consignor, Norwegian Kongsberg Maritime, shows a customs form with E24 access.
The company, which is wholly owned by Kongsberg Gruppen, of which the Ministry of Trade and Industry is the majority owner, ensures exports to E24.
They say they received orders in 2021 and shipped the goods from Norway in April last year – two months after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine, but three months before the goods ended up on the sanctions list.
– Followed regulations
It took a year from the time the goods were shipped from Norway to registration in Russia.
According to customs information, the goods were sent to Russia from an address in Busan, South Korea, but the country of origin was Norway.
E24 shared all customs information with Kongsberg Maritime.
– We have followed the regulations, says Anette Bonnevie Wollebæk, Director of Communications at Kongsberg Maritime.
He says the order was shipped from Broadwalk in Ålesund to Busan, South Korea on April 21, 2022. Kongsberg Maritime knew that the buyer was a Russian fishing company, while the vessel Global Star Shipping was a distributor or agent used by the Russian company. .
– Since you are asking now, out of interest our people in South Korea contacted Global Star Shipping in South Korea to find out what happened after we delivered as agreed. They say the delivery was held at a warehouse in South Korea until this year.
According to Wollebæk, Kongsberg Maritime has decided not to sell goods to Russia in the summer of 2022.
Owner authorized by Ukraine
The recipient of the goods in Russia is the fishing company Production Association Sakhalinripaksoyus CZ LLC, and is owned by Putin’s ally is oligarch and former senator Alexander Grigorievich Verkovsky.
As of 2018, Verkowski is listed List of embargoes of Ukraine.
The justification is that “he carries out business activities in sectors of the economy that provide a large revenue share in the budget” for Russia. “That is, it is a significant source of income for waging war,” it says Entry.
Ukrainian officials also write that he has close ties to the regime.
Verkovsky founded the fish processing company Kitrostroy in 1991 and later made a lot of money from pollock in the Sea of Okhotsk, east of Russia. Between 2010 and 2017, he was a member of the Federation Council, the upper chamber of the National Assembly of Russia.
According to Forbes Russia Verkovsky is one of Russia’s 200 richest businessmen in 2021, worth 600 million dollars, equivalent to 6.4 billion kroner.
In May this year, one of Verkovsky’s fishing trawler was detained by the Ukrainian navy, according to the Prague-based Russian Independent TV channel. current time.
Ukraine’s military intelligence service (SBU) wrote on its Telegram channel that Verkovsky was in Putin’s inner circle and one of the country’s biggest financial contributors to the war in Ukraine.
“The Russian businessman’s fishing business allows billions of dollars to be regularly transferred to the budget of the Russian Federation,” he writes. SBU.
On at least two occasions, Verkovsky has invited current prime ministers of Russia to his fishing facility on Sakhalin Island – posing for photos with Dmitriy Medvedev in 2019 and current prime minister Mikhail Misjustin in 2021.
E24 has sent questions to Gidrostroy, Verkovsky’s parent company, about exports and the Russian company’s business relationship with Kongsberg Maritime. They did not respond to inquiries.
When E24 tried to contact the recipient company, Sakhalinrybaksoyuz, there was no dial tone at the phone number listed.
“No Red Flags”
E24 has asked Kongsberg Maritime a number of questions about their business relationship with the Russian company, what assessments they have made against sending these goods to Russia after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and the assessment of the sale to Alexander Verkovsky. Company.
“Kongsberg Maritime follows the applicable export control and sanctions regulations at all times. We have done the same in this case. The contract was entered into in 2021. These goods were not covered by the item lists when they were delivered from us in the spring of 2022, and this customer is not on the EU’s sanctions list, which Norway follows. .That was the situation in the months after the war broke out,” communications director Anette Bonnevie Wollebæk writes in an email.
“We screen ships and customers prior to delivery. At the time of delivery of this order, no red flags were raised,” the company writes.
“Questions regarding this matter should be directed to the board and management of Kongsberg Gruppen, which is responsible for the management of the company,” writes the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
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