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Helping Lukashenko may lead one to prison

Pavel Latushka: Deputy Head of the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus, Head of the National Anti-Crisis Management, Ambassador

Helping Lukashenko circumvent sanctions could lead to jail time

The European Council and the European Parliament reached a political agreement on December 12 on criminal penalties for violating EU sanctions. The EU Member States are expected to approve this directive soon.

This directive ensures that those who breach or circumvent EU sanctions will be held accountable. This act provides that member states will have to classify certain acts as criminal offenses, including:

  • Assistance to persons subject to EU restrictive measures to circumvent the travel ban;

  • Trading in goods subject to sanctions and conducting transactions with states or organizations that are subject to EU restrictive measures;

  • Providing financial services or carrying out financial activities that are prohibited or restricted;

  • Concealing the ownership of funds or economic resources by a person, legal entity or body subject to EU sanctions.

Aiding and abetting these crimes will also be punishable as a crime. Trafficking in military materials will constitute a criminal offense both when committed intentionally and when it occurs as a result of negligence.

All EU member states will be required to ensure that violations of EU sanctions are punishable by effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal penalties, up to and including one to five years' imprisonment. In addition to prison sentences, violators of EU restrictive measures may face fines.

Legal entities that violate restrictive measures will have to face sanctions, which include a ban on business activities and revocation of permits to conduct economic activities.

These norms will be adopted in the form of a directive, which provides for further mandatory implementation in the national legal systems of EU member states. EU Member States are obliged to take measures within the specified period aimed at achieving the goals defined in it.

All this means that EU member states are stepping up their efforts to enforce sanctions and take measures to freeze and confiscate proceeds from sanctions violations.

The National Anti-Crisis Management and the United Transitional Cabinet constantly call for and justify the need to strengthen control over the implementation of sanctions restrictions. And we are glad that our partners hear the voice of the Belarusian democratic forces and take concrete actions.


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