Russian Embassy in The Hague

Russian Embassy in The Hague Photo: Roman Lukaschuk via Wikimedia Commons

Dutch tech companies are unknowingly selling their technology to companies founded by Russian intelligence services, the head of the Dutch military’s intelligence service told Financieele Dagblad.

MIVD head Jan Swillens said in an interview that Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, has set up front-line organizations and companies to evade sanctions with the aim of buying technology in the Netherlands and smuggling it into Russia for military purposes. He said he was.

Products range from microchips to industrial paints to military vehicle tire rubber, Swillens said.

“This has been happening since the annexation of Crimea, but has increased significantly since the war in Ukraine,” Swillens said, urging the tech department to do a more thorough investigation into its customers.

Swillens declined to name his company, but FD said the products involved have both civil and military end uses.


The MIVD informed Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren about the smuggling route months ago, the FD said.

In March, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs deported 17 Russian diplomats for espionage, some of whom worked for the GRU and were tasked with purchasing knowledge and technology for the Russian military.

And last month, a 55-year-old man from the eastern Netherlands was arrested on suspicion of ignoring EU sanctions to supply microchips to Russia.


Ben de Jong, a security services researcher at Leiden University, told FD there is a great deal of naivety in the Netherlands.

“Russia’s interest in our technical and political knowledge is almost imperceptible,” he said. “I don’t understand why the Russians want to spy here.

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