Haas issues vehement denial of Russian military support
By Ian Parkes
Thursday 16th March, 2023 - 10:30pm
Haas F1 team owner Gene Haas has been forced to issue a vehement denial regarding the sale of his Automation company’s products to Russia.
A categorical and strongly-worded statement has been issued following a report on television network PBS claiming Haas Automation directly provided machines and parts to Russia in violation of U.S. export control and sanctions regulations.
The PBS report paints Haas as being supportive of the Russian military in its year-long war with Ukraine, which Haas claim “couldn’t be further from the truth”.
At a time when the F1 team is in a very healthy financial position, the knock-on effect of the PBS report is potentially damaging for both its efforts and that of Haas Automation.
The statement makes clear that Haas Automation, like many U.S. companies, does not sell its machines directly to any end-user customers, in Russia or anywhere else, instead selling machines to independent distributors, who in turn sell them to their customers.
In addition, the statement reads: “While Haas’ distributors are independent companies that are not owned or controlled by Haas Automation, all Haas distributors, including Abamet Management, its then sole existing independent distributor for Russia and Belarus, are contractually required to comply with all applicable U.S. export control and sanctions regulations.
“In addition, Haas has, for decades, implemented a comprehensive export and sanctions compliance program that provides additional screening and other checks to help ensure all machines or other items sold by Haas are only exported, re-exported, or transferred in full compliance with U.S. law, including ensuring the machines are only provided to permissible end customers, and only for permissible end-uses.
“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.
“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.”
Haas supporting Ukraine not Russia
The PBS report claims that “at least 18 shipments were made to Russia directly from Haas worth $2.8 million from March 4 though October of last year”.
Describing the comment as “a complete falsehood”, the statement adds: “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.
“In particular, Haas, as a company, has deplored Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and taken every step in its control to cease doing business with Russia or Russian companies.
“It has also taken affirmative measures to support Ukraine, including, in compliance with U.S. export control and sanctions regulations, providing Haas’ distributor in Ukraine and its Ukrainian customers expedited delivery of Haas manufactured machines.
“These, and earlier provided Haas machines, are directly and indirectly supporting Ukraine’s efforts to defend itself against Russia’s unwarranted invasion.”
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the F1 team itself ended its main sponsorship contract with Uralkali and terminated a deal with driver Nikita Mazepin.
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