Serbian police said that they have arrested 36 people suspected of illegally exporting fruit to Russia that was originally imported from the European Union. This would be a violation of local and EU rules. The suspects are owners of farms, traders and officials who issued fake certificates that made it possible to mix imported EU fruits into exports of local products destined for Russia.
The charges raised against a total of 43 people include participation in a joint criminal enterprise, abuse of official powers and money laundering.
It was not clear what fruits were involved. The EU imposed trade sanctions against Russia four years ago for its involvement in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Serbia walks a tightrope between the EU, which it aspires to join. and its traditional ally, Russia.