Car keys with BMW trailers: Russia's car market continues to receive original spare parts from Germany. © Wirestock/Imago
There are perfidious ways in which the West's sanctions against Russia are undermined. One of them: the transport of original spare parts for German luxury vehicles.
Moscow/Munich - Sanctions against Russia have been in force for over a year due to the war in Ukraine. As a result, numerous companies, including those from Germany, have suspended their economic activities in the world's largest country. These include the local car manufacturers BMW, Porsche and Mercedes, whose vehicles serve not only as a vehicle in Russia as in the rest of the world, but also as a popular status symbol.
Western sanctions: Original components for BMW and Porsche end up in Russia
What to do if the premium and luxury models in the country of Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin need spare parts? As Business Insider describes, original components of German makes find their way to Russia despite sanctions. An investigative report by the portal describes how Russia's upper class still gets its hands on car spare parts.
Goods in demand - including components of car models - seem to be imported via third countries. In one specific case, this takes place via countries such as Georgia, Kazakhstan or Armenia, from where the products are shipped on to Russia.
These are also Porsche spare parts that are affected by the sanctions. The portal confronted the VW subsidiary with a specific, hidden trading network, whereupon the sports car manufacturer apparently set up a task force to clarify the facts.
Porsche, BMW and Co.: Original spare parts reach Russia via Berlin
The report states that the focus is on the "best customer of the Porsche Center Düsseldorf": A german-Russian entrepreneur has been buying spare parts there for years and reselling them on a large scale for millions of euros. Although this practice was prohibited, the Porsche dealership had delivered in ignorance of it. "He kept sending us photos of crashed vehicles and lists of needed parts," a source is quoted as saying.
An important place in the circumvention of the sanctions is a warehouse near Berlin. Here, according to Business Insider, spare parts are delivered in boxes, which are transported further to Russia. These are vehicles from the BMW and Ferrari dealer Riller & Schnauck, which reportedly acts as the manufacturer's official trading partner.
As the report points out, it is the good connections of the German-Russian Nick H. to car dealerships that make the "shadow business" in the direction of Russia possible. In addition, it is a triangular transaction, which is even proven with invoices: Via the company ACF Export Import from Estonia, spare parts for Porsche, BMW or even Mercedes (possibly via Lithuania or Latvia) would eventually end up in Russia.
Meanwhile, cryptocurrencies are apparently also playing a role in circumventing sanctions against Russia.
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Russian dealers allegedly receive original components of German makes
This company, in turn, had concluded a contract with a company based in the Moscow area, which included the trade of Western products. A deal from June 2022, which involved the delivery of new car parts and thousands of liters of engine oil, is concretized. The goods would have taken the route Berlin – Odintsovo + Voronezh (both Russia). The deal was handled by a Kazakh bank.
The Russian importer, the company Una Life LCC, would eventually have redistributed the production goods within Russia - for example, a well-known Porsche dealer and a dealer of car spare parts. For example, the driver of a Panamera could look forward to a new spoiler.
Sanctions against Russia: Countless attempts to import consumer goods
The report even reports on a personal meeting of a reporter with the aforementioned Nick H., who, according to the information, also earns his money on the used car market in Lithuania. Although he confirmed the links to ACF, he did not confirm the resale to Russia. According to the report, he wanted to send corresponding documents to the portal as evidence, "but H. then did not react to any more contact attempts".
At Porsche Düsseldorf, there are now internal investigations to clarify the case. However, this has also reached political dimensions: In the meantime, investigations have been launched, in which the Republic of Estonia is apparently also involved. The country is "working with other EU members and international partners to investigate the details of this case."
However, this is likely to be on a more far-reaching scale: Estonian customs have already detected thousands of attempts to circumvent sanctions against Russia since the escalation of the Ukraine conflict in spring 2022. This involves all kinds of expensive consumer goods, including watches, technical devices, or champagne.
Meanwhile, China is benefiting from Western sanctions against Russia in the auto industry. (PF)