We pay strict attention to compliance with laws, international regulations and embargoes throughout the company. At no time have we violated valid sanctions law, neither before nor after the start of the war in Ukraine.
We had all the allegations examined in detail – also from external third parties. We refuse to accept the allegations made by Business Insider. In our view, they represent a serious misleading of the public that is damaging to Rittal. We have therefore taken legal action against the editors.
At no time have we supplied to companies that were on the sanctions list:
Business Insider gives the impression that Rittal actively and knowingly supplied the Russian military. The online portal claims that "for years, the Rittal Group supplied components for the IT technology of an AI-supported combat control system for the Russians".
The reality: Rittal's Russian subsidiary has only supplied companies that are not on any sanctions list at any time – and are not today – and are therefore not considered critical by internationally competent authorities.
Contrary to what has been stated, we are not aware of whether or when Rittal Russia's customers have in turn supplied third critical end users. It is therefore impossible for us to trace the direct connection as reported by Business Insider.
At no time after the start of the war did we supply Rittal products to Russia:
Business Insider deliberately conveys the idea that Rittal delivered from Germany to Russia after the outbreak of the war.
The reality: Rittal completely stopped all deliveries to Russia at the beginning of the war, even before the embargo was significantly tightened. We even recalled trucks that were already on their way and could still have delivered.
We have ensured throughout the organisation, including internationally, that no products were delivered to Russia at any time. To this end, our subsidiaries have had clear instructions since 28 February 2022.
In addition, our Russian colleagues were also instructed to implement the objectives of the embargoes within Russia as well, without putting themselves at personal risk. However, they are Russian citizens and as such must comply with local laws – as must the Rittal subsidiary there. So if they refuse legal orders in Russia, for example, and thus refuse to hand over residual stock already in Russia before the export ban, they can be liable for prosectution by the Russian authorities. There is a threat of considerable personal fines and imprisonment.
We have also stopped sales activities and decided to dissolve our subsidiary in Russia. Currently, only the administrative liquidation is still ongoing.
In addition, 98% of the deliveries mentioned in the Business Insider article are not Rittal products, but products from the German manufacturer HEITEC for which the Russian subsidiary was acting as a distributor in Russia.
The small proportion of Rittal products – two fan-and-filter units – was already in stock in Russia at the time of delivery, therefore Rittal did not deliver them to its Russian subsidiary from Germany at the relevant time. What the customer of Rittal Russia "NPO" did with this delivery is not apparent to us and is purely speculation.
Moreover, the entire reporting of Business Insider suggests a lack of journalistic care, selective and tendentious information gathering, and a lack of objectivity. Although Business Insider corrected some of the information at our request, the currently available version of the text still contains numerous false allegations that create an inaccurate impression overall.
The following information on product deliveries before the start of the war:
Around 99 per cent of our products did not at any time – until today – fall under the "Dual Use Regulation" (Regulation (EU) 2021/821) in its valid and most current version and did not violate the Russia embargo of European Regulation 833/2014. We naturally excluded the small proportion of products falling under this from all deliveries before the war began.
All products supplied are thus civilian goods with zero likelihood that they are put to military use. Therefore, no export licences are required from the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (BAFA). At no time could we anticipate that an end use for military purposes might occur.
Information on further action beyond the legal requirements:
We take consistent action against attempts by third parties to dodge the law. To this end, we have set up our own multi-step inspection criteria that go far beyond legal requirements, and that also applies to our international subsidiaries. We immediately refrain from doing business if there is the slightest suspicion that companies not affected by the embargo could nevertheless supply the products to this area.