EU outlaws circumvention of sanctions making it a criminal offense

Image of binoculars with Russian flag in its lenses.

Image of binoculars with Russian flag in its lenses. Credit: AlexLMX/

The European Union (EU) has made the circumvention of sanctions a criminal offense after the Council of Ministers agreed the change.

The Press Council of Europe said on Monday, November 28 said only a few countries within the bloc had laws that outlawed sanction busting. As a result, the European Union had stepped in to fill the void and would now begin the process of compiling an appropriate definition, along with a list of criminal and the penalties that will apply.

Czech Justice Minister Pavel Blažek said: “The EU … adopted an unprecedented number of sanctions directed against the Russian economy and depriving it of the opportunity to continue aggression (against Ukraine).

“To succeed, their implementation requires joint efforts, and today’s decision is an important tool that ensures that any attempts to circumvent these measures will be stopped.

Among the other measures that are being considered by the EU is the legalising of the confiscation of frozen Russian assets. This amendment could result in frozen assets being seized under the new circumvention of sanctions act.

Corruption and money laundering are also two areas that are being looked at for inclusion in the act, which will leave many oligarchs in danger of losing their frozen assets for good.

Although EU sanctions have been effective in areas, many countries have allowed businesses and individuals to circumvent the restrictions put in place. That has seen everything from luxury cars and weapons being supplied to Russia through “black market” deals.

The EU hopes that the implantation of the new law will put people off breaking sanctions, as it will prevent oligarchs from providing direct support to Russia for fear of losing their European assets.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at