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3 people arrested in the Netherlands on suspicion of violating EU sanctions with exports to Russia

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Authorities in the Netherlands have arrested three people as part of an investigation into an international network that allegedly worked to circumvent sanctions put on Russia because of its invasion of Ukraine, Dutch prosecutors announced Tuesday.

Raids were carried out at 14 locations earlier this month and involved authorities in the Netherlands, Estonia, Latvia, Germany and Canada. Dutch fraud investigators coordinated the Jan. 9 operation with the support of European Union police and judicial cooperation organizations Europol and Eurojust.

The three suspects, two men, ages 56 and 57, and a 54-year-old woman, were detained in the Netherlands, the Dutch fraud office said. The office did not release their names and or the name of the company with which they were affiliated.

The raids followed “investigations into the illegal export of technological and laboratory equipment, which could be used for military purposes," Eurojust said. "Such exports are illegal due to the EU-wide sanctions, which were imposed after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.”

Dutch authorities began investigating late last year and uncovered “a web of enterprises, which were used to circumvent the ban on exports to Russia,” Eurojust said in a statement.

The network was centered on a Dutch-registered company that Eurojust said was established in 2017 “for the import, export and sales of electro-technical and laboratory equipment, among other goods.”

The European Union has imposed waves of sanctions on Russia in response to the war in Ukraine, most recently targeting its lucrative diamond industry.