Haas have issued a statement suggesting reports in US media that the Formula 1 team's parent company, Haas Automation broke Russian sanctions are "false."
American media outlet PBS claimed that Haas Automation had directly provided machinery and parts to Russia - which would be in contravention of sanctions issued by the US government following the invasion and war in Ukraine.
In a lengthy statement, Haas said it had always followed appropriate US sanctions and that the 18 machines concerned in the PBS story had already been shipped to Russia by the time of the sanctions coming into force, and that no machines had been shipped after March 3rd, 2022.
The statement described the PBS allegations as a "poorly-sourced hit piece, which ignores basic facts and assets other facts that are clearly false."
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"On March 3, 2022, shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Haas Automation terminated, in its entirety, its relationship with its sole existing independent distributor for Russia and Belarus, Abamet Management," began the statement.
"Since that date, Haas has not sold or shipped any machines, parts, or software to Abamet or anyone else in Russia. This crucial fact was made clear to the PBS reporter before the story was aired.
"Additionally, at the time it terminated its relationship with Abamet in March, Haas voluntarily cancelled 50 existing machine orders from Abamet, even though such orders may have been permissible under then existing U.S. export control and sanctions regulations"
Shipment without knowledge claims
In the statement, Haas Automation also responded to the idea that Abamet Management could have supplied Haas machines or parts to the Russian arms industry without their knowledge.
"At the time Haas terminated its relationship with Abamet, Abamet had possession, title, and control over a number of machines and spare parts it had acquired from Haas prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine," continued the statement.
"While Haas did not have physical control over such products, all of the products were subject to Abamet’s certification to Haas that it would not export any Haas products in violation of applicable U.S. export control and sanctions laws, and Haas is certainly not aware of any instances where it did so.
"Simply put, if any shipments of Haas manufactured machines or components occurred after March 3, 2022, such shipments were made, unbeknownst to Haas, by Abamet or one of Haas’ numerous other customers around the world.
"Any such shipments would have been made in direct contravention of express Haas policy with regard to Russia following its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
"To be clear, Haas has unequivocally, and in many cases voluntarily, ceased doing business with Russian companies on all fronts.
"In addition to terminating its relationship with Abamet and prohibiting exports or re-exports of Haas products to Russia, Haas terminated, at a cost to itself of millions of dollars, a Russian company’s sponsorship of the Haas Formula 1 racing team."
The statement went onto describe the PBS report as a "bitter irony [which] paints Haas as being supportive of the Russian military, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
"At a time when Americans are struggling to develop the most effective course of conduct in support of Ukraine, it is irresponsible in the extreme for PBS to present this poorly-sourced hit piece, which ignores basic facts and asserts other facts that are clearly false."
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