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    Construction of Kerch Strait Bridge in Crimea

    Dutch Dieseko Group Admits Being Under Probe for Role in Building Crimean Bridge

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Dieseko Group, a Dutch company specializing in engineering, production, sales and rental of vibratory hammers, power packs, piling and drilling rigs, acknowledges that it is under investigation over its role in the construction of the Kerch Strait Bridge, which links Crimea with Russia, a company official told Sputnik.

    The Public Prosecutor’s office in the Netherlands launched an investigation into seven Dutch companies for their involvement in the construction of the bridge connecting Crimea to Russia, Dutch press reported last week. Under EU sanctions against Russia, Dutch companies are prohibited from getting involved in the construction of the bridge.

    "From here, I can’t tell you anything about contracts, because we’re under investigation. That’s for sure. I don’t have any additional comments," Douwe Feenstra, marketing manager at Dieseko Group, said.

    Feenstra declined to verify whether his company sold or leased products to the state-owned Russian construction company Mostotrest, which is responsible for the construction of the Kerch Strait Bridge.

    READ MORE: Meet Mostik, the Cat Supervising the Construction of Russia's Crimean Bridge

    According to corporate filings of Mostotrest, its subsidiaries leased equipment including PVE 130M and PVE 110M from the Dieseko Group on August 26, 2015 for 69.4 million rubles (about $1.11 million) and 57.5 million rubles (about $0.92 million), respectively. The contract is expected to be completed by Jan 15, 2019. PVE 130M and PVE 110M are vibratory hammers commonly used for laying the foundation of major projects, such as piles for bridges.

    While confirming PVE 130M and PVE 110M are products from the Dieseko Group, Feenstra refused to verify whether the equipment provided to Mostotrest was indeed used to build the Crimean Bridge.

    "We do not comment on any questions regarding the matter. Currently, we are awaiting the outcome of the pending investigations," Frank Witte, spokesperson on behalf of Dieseko Group, told Sputnik in an emailed statement.

    Two Dutch companies, namely Dematec Equipment and Bijlard Hydrauliek, allegedly violated existing sanctions against Russia by leasing impact hammers that were used to install the piles for the Crimean Bridge, Dutch newspaper De Gelderlander reported last September.

    READ MORE: Putin Says Would Like People to Start Using Crimea Bridge This Summer

    Derk van den Heuvel, director of Dematec Equipment, told the Dutch Newspaper that he did not believe his company violated EU sanctions in place by leasing impact hammers to Russia, because the equipment was assembled on Russian territory, not in Crimea. Marcel Biljard, director of Biljard Hydrauliek, also denied any wrongdoing, because it simply provided parts to Dematec Equipment, according to the report from De Gelderlander.

    About two years ago, Heuvel from Dematec Equipment posted a picture on his public profile on Linkedin.com, showing two impact hammers called IMPACT 35S515 pounding metal pipes into the depth of 69 meters in the Black Sea. The IMPACT 35S515 are hydraulic hammers produced by Dematec Equipment.

    According to corporate filings of Mostotrest, the Russian construction giant spent 101 million rubles (about $1.61 million) leasing the IMPACT 35S515 hammer on August 18, 2015. The leasing contract for IMPACT 35S515 ends on Jan 15, 2019.

    Both Heuvel and Dematec Equipment’s office did not respond to questions from Sputnik.

    The Crimean Bridge is expected to open to truck traffic in October, Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said last month.

    Construction for the bridge over the Kerch Strait began in May 2015. The project aims to facilitate transportation between mainland Russia and the peninsula, which were previously connected only by a ferry line.

    In 2014, Crimea rejoined Russia as a result of a referendum. Even though the West has not recognized the vote, the Russian authorities have maintained that the plebiscite was carried out in line with international standards.

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    bridge, investigation, Kerch Strait, Crimea, Russia, Denmark
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