Belgian man charged with smuggling sanctioned military tech to Russia and China

Belgian man charged with smuggling sanctioned military tech to Russia and China

December 7, 2023 at 02:39AM

A Belgian was arrested for smuggling military electronics from the US to Russia and China. Hans De Geetere, charged in the US, conspired to export controlled items, misleading suppliers, and hiding the end-users. His business and he were added to US sanction lists; he faces lengthy prison terms.

Meeting Takeaways:

1. Hans Maria De Geetere, a 61-year-old Belgian national, and five others have been arrested in connection with a smuggling scheme exporting military-grade electronics from the US to Russia and China.

2. Belgian law enforcement conducted the arrest on December 5, while the US Justice Department has unsealed two separate indictments against De Geetere and associates.

3. De Geetere’s companies, Knokke-Heist Support Management Corporation and European Trading Technology BV, were added to the BIS Entity List and the OFAC Specially Designated and Blocked Person List by the US Commerce and Treasury Departments, due to involvement in the illicit technology transfers.

4. Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement Matthew Axelrod has emphasized the US’s commitment to preventing the distribution of critical US electronics to China and Russia.

5. The first indictment from a Texas court details a conspiracy with Eddy Johan Coopmans, involving the smuggling of FPGA circuits to Russia and SWIR cameras to China from March 2016 to February 2018. Over $1.2 million was wired by the conspirators to achieve this, using deceptive practices.

6. Coopmans has already pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and awaits sentencing.

7. A second indictment from an Oregon court accuses De Geetere of attempting to acquire and export accelerometers to China, valued at over $930,000, from April 2021 to August 2023. De Geetere misrepresented the end users as European entities when, in fact, the intention was to re-export to China, including Hong Kong.

8. Charges against De Geetere include conspiring to smuggle goods, conspiring to launder funds, making false statements, and smuggling goods, with the potential for multiple years of imprisonment per count if convicted. Specifically, the maximum penalties include five years for conspiracy to smuggle, five years for each false statement, ten years for smuggling goods, and 20 years for conspiracy to launder funds.

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