Grundfos and Siemens violate EU sanctions, propping up Russia’s occupation of Crimea
The Danish company Grundfos appears to have both collaborated with Germany’s Siemens in producing water pumps for Russian-occupied Crimea and learned from the German company how to issue wide-eyed denials of any breach of EU sanctions. Since Siemens has already used the same method to enable Russia to get gas turbines for Crimea, the EU is proving frustratingly indifferent to methods of bypassing critically important sanctions.
It was the Russian Scanner Project who
The Russian media claim that only Russian technology was used, Siemens that it has complied with EU sanctions, and Grundfos Vice President Peter Trillingsgaard that “they are not aware of deliveries to Crimea.” Judging by Trillingsgaard’s comments, Grundfos’s position appears to be that they had no suspicions and therefore did not “request identification of the end-user”.
Siemens does extract ‘an end-user certificate’ which names the customer and “the final user of the equipment”. As a Moscow-based lawyer, Thomas Heidemann, explained to DW: "The European supplier then files away this end-user certificate and can show it did everything possible to prevent a sanctions violation."
All of this is worryingly reminiscent of the manner by which Siemens gas turbines ended up in occupied Crimea despite EU sanctions and repeated warnings that this was exactly where the turbines were headed. Reports in prominent Russian and international media even detailed the method that was being used, yet Siemens still continued to repeat, mantra-like, that it complied with EU sanctions and knew nothing of any violations, until the turbines were photographed already in occupied Crimea. The claim of ignorance was especially pitiful given that Siemens’ Russian subsidiary was supposedly sending the four gas turbines instead to a non-existent power plant. These turbines are now helping Moscow’s militarization of illegally occupied territory.
Grundfos also has a Russian subsidiary, Grundfos Istra, however the latter has not replied to DW’s request for information and Trillingsgaard is adamant that his company does not know how its pumps came to be in Crimea.
Judging by Heidemann’s explanation, the ‘how’ is not difficult to understand. He asserts that a company’s Russian subsidiary cannot demand that customers even provide an end-user document stating that the product will not be used in Crimea. He also makes the following statement: “When delivering machines, the European supplier must observe the European sanctions. If it does not, it is not permitted to ship the goods. It is usually possible to deliver to a Russian subsidiary,"
Why is it usually possible? Because the understanding is that nobody asks inconvenient questions?
Boris Babin, former Presidential Representative on Crimea,
DW reports that the Danish authorities are examining whether Grundfos knew of the shipments and was in violation of EU sanctions.
Very good, however the German prosecutor was reported to have initiated an investigation back in July 2017 after the Siemens turbines were delivered to Crimea. Over a year later, in November 2018, Reuters
The present case is less obvious, but the same general mechanism would seem to have been used. If Heidermann is correct and Russian companies can legally refuse to divulge information about machines, etc., headed for Crimea, then the current sanctions system needs to be significantly tightened.