UK Business Shipping USD 1.2 Billion Electronics to Russia

Image credit: Financial Times News

A UK business registered to a terraced house in north London has caused confusion with reports suggesting it has shipped $1.2 billion of electronics to Russia since the beginning of 2022. Mykines Corporation LLP, a company based in the borough of Enfield, is named in Russian records of exporting products that include semiconductors, servers, laptops, computer components, telecoms network equipment, and consumer electronics such as those from Huawei, H3C, Intel, AMD, Apple, and Samsung.

Foreign trade records show that Mykines is responsible for exporting a large quantity of goods to Russia that are subject to restrictions by the UK authorities. If it is found to have violated these sanctions, there could be repercussions. In response to this, a spokesperson for the UK government said, “All businesses registered in the UK are bound by law to comply with the Russia sanctions regime. We take potential breaches very seriously, but do not discuss the details of how we enforce trade sanctions for specific cases.”

The shipment of these goods to Russia sends a message about the efficacy of sanctions placed on Russia, as well as questions about the use of secrecy jurisdictions. Mykines’ accounts from past years showed all profits were passed on to owners in the British Virgin Islands, with their ownership being unknown.

The residence in which Mykines is registered is owned by Savvas Themistocleous, a Cyprus-based manager for a fiduciary service. In 2013, he had set up a company with him as the only director called “Russian Trading Company Ltd”. Themistocleous stated that he would forward any inquiries regarding Mykines to Vitalii Poliakov, a 53-year-old Ukrainian who is a road worker employed by a Ukrainian state run organization.

The controller of Mykines before last August was a 34-year-old Ukrainian woman born in the same town as Poliakov. Online testimonials revealed that she had attended a short language course in London while staying with a host family.

It seems like the Moscow-based company Marsala is the primary customer for the electronics. It is heavily linked to Merlion, a computing and electronics distributor in Russia. One of Marsala’s counterparties, Microcontract, is a joint venture with Novgorod State University Engineering Center that researches Aviation and drones, microelectronics, sensors and industrial electronics.

Although it is possible that some of the shipments are for the purpose of satisfying civilian needs, the sudden increase in sales to Russia since the start of the war is suspicious. With a strong need to confirm if laws have been broken and the corresponding consequences, more investigation needs to be done on this situation.