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Japan Arrests First Russian National for Allegedly Evading Sanctions


A Russian national has been arrested in Japan on suspicion of evading sanctions, marking the first such incident, reported Japanese news outlet Nikkei on July 10.

According to Nikkei, Andrei Sova, aged 38, was arrested in Osaka Prefecture for allegedly illegally exporting jet skis, boat engines, and second-hand motorcycles valued at 43 million yen ($266,000), items that could potentially be used by the Russian military.

Investigators suspect that Sova used his company, Astrade, to export dual-use components to South Korea around July 2022, following heightened export restrictions to Russia due to its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Police are reportedly investigating whether the company concealed transactions with Russia.

Sova is accused of exporting the items to South Korea via a container ship in January 2023, despite knowing that they were subject to export restrictions, as reported by Japanese newspaper Chunichi Shimbun.

Astrade claims to have "over 10 years of unique experience, skills, and connections in the fields of trade, wholesale distribution, and logistics in Japan, Russia, and CIS countries," referring to the Commonwealth of Independent States, which includes nine former Soviet republics.

According to the Russian search engine Yandex, a company named Astrade Co Ltd operated from an address in Vladivostok, the largest Russian port city on the Pacific. Andrei Sova's Facebook profile indicates he resides in Osaka and studied at Russia's Far Eastern Federal University, based in Vladivostok.

While categorized by Yandex as a shop selling cars and automotive parts, Astrade is currently listed as closed for business.

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