Exclusive: Despite sanctions, Russian organizations acquire Microsoft software


MOSCOW (Reuters) – Software constructed by Microsoft Corp has been acquired by state organizations and firms in Russia and Crimea notwithstanding sanctions exclusive U.S-based companies from doing business with them, central papers show.

The acquisitions, purebred on a Russian state shopping database, uncover a stipulations in a approach unfamiliar governments and firms make a U.S. sanctions, imposed on Russia over a cast of a Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.

Some of a users gave Microsoft fictitious information about their identity, people concerned in a exchange told Reuters, exploiting a opening in a U.S. company’s ability to keep a products out of their hands.

The products in any box were sole around third parties and Reuters has no justification that Microsoft sole products directly to entities strike by a sanctions.

“Microsoft has a clever joining to complying with authorised mandate and we have been looking into this matter in new weeks,” a Microsoft deputy pronounced in an emailed response to questions from Reuters.

“We have clever trade correspondence processes around a universe to assistance safeguard that a partners approve with all conditions including evident crude of suspected crude sales by partners, and clever measures to try to forestall criminialized business from accessing and regulating a products and services.”

All state organizations and state firms are thankful to divulge purchases they make on a shopping database. People concerned in 5 of a exchange reliable to Reuters a program had been acquired.

The Reuters examination of a database found state entities in Russia and Crimea that are theme to sanctions have acquired some-more than 5,000 Microsoft products value about 60 million rubles ($1.03 million).

The sum is comparatively tiny yet such program is critical for many firms and organizations in Russia and Crimea to operate. The database also does not embody private companies, so a scale of a problem could be most bigger.

  • Factbox: Entities theme to sanctions that bought Microsoft products

Among entities strike by sanctions that acquired Microsoft products was Almaz-Antey, manufacturer of a BUK surface-to-air missile. Dutch prosecutors contend a BUK barb brought down a Malaysian Airlines newcomer jet over easterly Ukraine in Jul 2014, yet Russia denies a army shot down a plane.

Other Microsoft buyers, a database shows, embody Glavgosexpertiza, a state pattern group concerned in work on a new overpass from Russia to Crimea and a “Krym” health sauna in Crimea owned by Russia’s invulnerability ministry.

The arms manufacturer, Almaz-Antey, did not respond to a ask for comment. The invulnerability ministry’s health sauna in Crimea declined to comment. Glavgosexpertiza pronounced “the association operates within a Russian authorised framework”.


One set of U.S. sanctions prohibits a trade by a U.S. entity of any goods, services or record to Crimea.

Other sanctions bar U.S firms from carrying out exchange with companies or people on a list of “specially designated nationals” deemed by Washington to be related to a Russian supervision and a activities in Ukraine.

Microsoft did not directly respond to minute questions about specific users of a products and a correspondence procedures it has in place.

The products acquired by organizations strike by sanctions embody “Open License Program” services, where a user contingency yield Microsoft with a company’s full name and address.

Almaz-Antey, Glavgosexpertiza and a invulnerability method sauna acquired “Open License Program” products, a database showed.

After a sanctions were introduced, Microsoft took stairs to forestall entities strike by sanctions appropriation a products, according to 5 sources concerned in a program re-selling trade and a former Microsoft worker in Russia.

But people concerned in exchange contend ways can be found to by-pass obstacles.

The “Morye” shipyard, formed in Crimea, bought 150 Windows Server, SQL Server and Office licenses in Jun 2016 from OOO Web-Potok, a organisation purebred in Moscow, a shopping database shows. All a products were “Open License Program” services.

The shipyard fell underneath a ubiquitous breach on exchange by U.S. firms with entities in Crimea and is now on a “special designated nationals” list.

“If we bought directly from Microsoft, there would be sanctions,” a shipyard employee, vocalization on condition of anonymity since of a attraction of a issue, pronounced by telephone. “But there were no problems with (buying third-party from) Russian firms.”

The shipyard declined to comment. Reuters called write numbers listed for a supplier, OOO Web-Potok, yet a people who answered pronounced they worked for a opposite company.

Another approach to by-pass a restrictions on Crimea-based entities is for a user, when induction a product with Microsoft, not to yield a Crimean address, 3 people concerned in a trade said.

They pronounced addresses in Russia’s Krasnodar region, opposite a Kerch Strait from Crimea, were ordinarily used instead.

A retailer who worked with a association on a U.S. “specially designated nationals” list pronounced a retailer and a customer could by-pass restrictions by induction Microsoft products to a auxiliary or primogenitor association of a finish user.

Additional stating by Anton Zverev in Moscow and Salvador Rodriguez in San Francisco, Editing by Christian Lowe and Timothy Heritage


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