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Circumvention of European sanctions is included in the list of criminal offenses in the European Union

The EU Council decided on Monday to include violations of sanctions imposed by the European Union in the list of criminal “crimes in the EU”.

“The EU has adopted an unprecedented number of sanctions against the Russian economy. To achieve a result, their implementation requires a joint effort, and today’s decision is an important tool that ensures that any attempts to circumvent these measures will be stopped,” said the Minister of Justice of the Czech Republic, chairing the Council of the EU, Pavel Blazek.

As noted in the document, EU member states currently have different definitions of what constitutes a violation of restrictive measures and what penalties should be applied in the event of a violation. “This could lead to varying degrees of sanctions and the risk of circumvention of these measures, potentially allowing sanctioned individuals to continue to access their assets and support regimes targeted by EU measures,” the EU Council said in a statement.

It explains that the inclusion of violations of restrictive measures in the list of “crimes in the EU” is the first of two steps aimed at ensuring the same degree of application of sanctions throughout the EU and deterring attempts to circumvent or violate EU measures. Following the adoption of this decision, the European Commission will submit a “proposal for a directive containing minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offenses and penalties for violation of EU restrictive measures.”

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Then this draft directive, reminded in Brussels, should be discussed and adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.

The crimes currently on the EU list are terrorism, human trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and children, drug trafficking, arms trafficking, money laundering, corruption, counterfeiting of means of payment, computer crime and organized crime. On May 25, 2022, the European Commission submitted a proposal to expand the list of these areas of crime to include violations of the restrictive measures adopted by the EU.

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