The U.S. has imposed new sanctions targeting a defense procurement network led by Belgian-based Hans De Geetere, involved in procuring military electronics for Russian end-users.
The network comprises nine entities and five individuals across Russia, Belgium, Cyprus, Sweden, Hong Kong, and the Netherlands.
Simultaneously, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed two indictments against De Geetere for unlawfully exporting military-grade technology to China and Russia. The U.S. Department of Commerce added De Geetere and five entities to the Bureau of Industry and Security Entity List, and Belgian authorities are taking action against him for global illicit procurement charges.
De Geetere, a Belgian businessman and Russian procurement agent, coordinates electronics acquisition for Russian customers, including high-priority semiconductor devices. Designated under E.O. 14024 for operating in the Russian defense sector, his associated entities, including Eriner, Lar Vorto, Ahetei, and Hasa Nederland, are also designated for involvement. M and S Trading, Lar Vorto, Ahetei, and Hasa Nederland are designated for supporting De Geetere.
The network involves Tom De Geetere, founder of European Technical Trading, designated for supporting De Geetere. Vladimir Kulemekov and Sergey Skvortsov are designated for coordinating electronics orders for Russian entities. Kimberley Beun, a Dutch citizen, is designated for handling financial affairs for Eriner.
Sanctions implications include blocking U.S. property of designated persons, and transactions involving such property are prohibited unless authorized by OFAC.
De Geetere has coordinated the procurement of electronics for Russian customers, including field programmable gate arrays (FPGA)—high-priority semiconductor devices sought by Russia for its weapons programs, as stated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In some cases, De Geetere and his network attempted to ship electronics to Russia via transshipment points in Hong Kong, China, and Türkiye.
The Treasury Department added that De Geetere-led company Eriner has repeatedly conducted business with Hong Kong-based company M and S Trading, coordinating electronics orders for Russia, including orders for integrated circuits of the same model as those identified in Russian-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) recovered in Ukraine.
The Cyprus-based entity Lar Vorto Services Limited (Lar Vorto) is on the board of multiple De Geetere-led firms. Lar Vorto is responsible for the position of Secretary at Eriner and The Mother Ark, as well as a third firm, Ahetei Limited (Ahetei), which was led by De Geetere at the time of its establishment. Ahetei has attempted to obtain U.S.-origin accelerometers, dual-use devices with aerospace and military applications. The Netherlands-based company Hasa Nederland B.V. (Hasa Nederland), registered in both Belgium and the Netherlands, is a subsidiary of The Mother Ark and shares an address with European Trading Technology.
In addition to the companies that he formally directs, De Geetere’s network includes the Belgium-based company European Technical Trading (ETT), founded and led by his brother, Tom De Geetere (Tom De Geetere). De Geetere has leveraged the ETT brand in attempted purchases from U.S. and European companies. In addition to his role as the founder and Director of ETT, Tom De Geetere has coordinated with his brother to procure UAV engines.