(Reuters) - Software produced by Microsoft Corp has been acquired by entities in Russia and Crimea that are subject to sanctions barring companies based in the United States from doing business with them.
The products in each case were sold via third parties and Reuters has found no evidence that Microsoft sold products directly to firms or organizations hit by the U.S. sanctions.
Below is a selection of some of the transactions involving Microsoft products and sanctioned firms and bodies, based on state procurement data:
Russian state-owned airspace and defense corporation Almaz–Antey bought more than 500 Microsoft products between autumn 2014 and spring 2017. Those transactions included the purchase and delivery of eight Microsoft Windows Open License Program (OLP) Server licenses for NPO Almaz, a division of Almaz-Antey. The licenses were sold by Moscow-registered company Syssoft, which is mentioned among Microsoft partners on Microsoft’s website.
Neither Almaz-Antey nor Syssoft responded to requests for comment.
Almaz-Antey was added to the U.S. government’s “specially designated nationals” list in July 2014. The firm manufactures the BUK surface-to-air missile. Dutch prosecutors say that a BUK missile, launched from a site in eastern Ukraine controlled by Moscow-backed separatists, brought down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 as it flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in July 2014. All 298 people on board were killed. Russia denies that it or pro-Moscow rebels were responsible.
The “Krym” health resort, in Crimea, owned by the Russian Defence Ministry, in March 2017 acquired 109 Microsoft OLP Windows Server and SQLServer licenses, according to the data-base. The resort bought the software from the firm Nash Parus, registered in Simferopol in Crimea. The resort declined to comment, and the two vendor firms did not respond to requests for comment.
The administration of Crimea’s Belogorsky District in December 2015 acquired 155 Windows licenses. Eighty were OLP Windows Server licenses, and the rest were Full Packaged Product (FPP) licenses, which are sold off-the-shelf and do not require details of the license holder to be registered. The vendor was a firm called Positronika Integratsiya. The administration and the vendor did not respond to requests for comment.
NPO Bazalt, a Russian state arms manufacturer acquired 101 Windows Server licenses in August 2016. The vendor was Moscow-registered firm OOO Ifrit. The procurement documents do not specify if the products were Open License Programs. The delivery of the Microsoft products to Bazalt was confirmed to Reuters by a participant in the deal. Bazalt was added to the U.S. government’s “specially designated nationals” list in July 2014.
Neither Bazalt nor Ifrit responded to Reuters requests for comment.
State agency Glavgosexpertiza bought 180 Microsoft server licenses in August 2017. The supplier was a company called OOO Nautilius. The products were Open License Programs. The agency was added to Washington’s “specially designated nationals” list in September, 2016. The U.S. government cited the firm’s role reviewing project documentation for the Kerch Bridge, being built by Moscow to connect the Crimean peninsula to Russia. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko last month ordered his government to sue Russia over construction of the bridge.
When contacted by Reuters, Glavgosexpertiza replied via email that “the company operates within the Russian legal framework”, including on major transactions. Reuters was unable to contact the supplier, Nautilius.
Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov, Anastasia Teterevleva, Anton Zverev and Anastasia Lyrchikova, Editing by Timothy Heritage