Estonian court fines man for attempting to take euros to Russia

Estonian court fines man for attempting to take euros to Russia.
Estonian court fines man for attempting to take euros to Russia. Photo: Arvo Meeks

The Estonian Viru County Court imposed a financial penalty on Monday for an attempted breach of international sanctions on a man who tried to transport 2,560 euros from Estonia to Russia last summer.

The court found a man named Lev Pylkin guilty of attempting to violate international sanctions and imposed a fine of 1,785 euros on him. Since the court handled the criminal case in shortened procedure, it decreased the financial penalty by one-third, leaving a reduced penalty of 1,190 euros.

Additionally, the court ordered Pylkin to pay 1,087 euros to the state revenues as punishment for second-degree crime and legal aid costs of 205 euros. The 2,560 euros seized from him, which are in the possession of the Estonian Internal Security Service, will be returned to Pylkin upon the court's decision entering into effect.

According to the statement of charges, Pylkin knowingly committed an act of non-compliance with international sanctions when, being aware that the export of euro-denominated banknotes from Estonia to Russia was prohibited under a Council of the European Union regulation, he attempted to take 2,560 euros from Estonia to Russia via the Narva border checkpoint on June 13, 2022.

According to a Council of the European Union regulation, it is prohibited to sell, supply, transfer, or export euro-denominated banknotes to Russia or to a physical or legal person, entity, or institution located in Russia, including the government and the Central Bank of Russia, or for use in Russia.

The prosecutor qualified Pylkin's act as a completed offense. The court did not agree with this interpretation. Since it has not been established during the proceedings that Pylkin completed the act attributed to him by taking cash across the European Union customs territory border, the court's opinion is that the man's act should be classified as an attempt.

"However, it is evident from the criminal case materials that Lev Pylkin did not voluntarily approach customs officers to report the cash, but customs officers themselves approached him and asked him about the money he had with him. Only then did Lev Pylkin state that he had cash in euros exceeding 2,000 euros," the court noted.

"If the customs official had not asked Lev Pylkin a question about the cash, Lev Pylkin would not have informed the officials about the money, and in the absence of additional checks, it would have been possible to complete the offense. Lev Pylkin did everything in his power to enable the export of cash to Russia, but the act remained incomplete due to the intervention of customs officers," the court added. Since the court did not consider confiscating the money proportionate, the 2,560 euros will be returned to Pylkin when the court's decision becomes final.