Germany has arrested a businessman for allegedly selling components to Russia that are used in military gear, including drones currently deployed by Moscow’s troops in Ukraine, prosecutors said Thursday.
The suspect from the central city of Kassel, who was not named, has been accused of exporting various electronic components, model aircraft engines and other goods to Russia in 2022 and 2023.
The goods were delivered to Saint Petersburg via an intermediary company in Hong Kong in a bid to dodge EU sanctions, prosecutors in Frankfurt said in a statement.
They are common components of the “Orlan 10” drone, the prosecutors said, noting that such drones “are used by the Russian armed forces… as part of the war of aggression against Ukraine”.
The suspect is also accused of illegally exporting two vehicles to Russia via Hong Kong, also in violation of EU sanctions.
The total value of the goods was estimated at two million euros ($2.1 billion).
The man was arrested on Wednesday and searches were carried out on six premises, the prosecutors said.
Even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the European Union imposed sanctions on Russia following its annexation of Crimea in 2014.
They included a ban on exporting “dual-use goods and technology” that can be used for both military and civilian purposes.
Several suspects have been arrested in Germany this year for selling military components to Russia, amid nagging fears that Russia’s arms manufacturers have exploited loopholes to circumvent the sanctions.
In a separate case, a German-Russian man was arrested in August for selling parts to Russia used in the Orlan 10 drone.