American company (Haas) accused of violating sanctions, doing business with Russian arms industry

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Well this is embarrassing.

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Not siding with any view point here, but I think it’s important to have all the facts before jumping to any conclusions. This story is lacking in some important details. All of the machines shown in the Russian factories in the video were not recent models. Many were quite old in fact, going back 10 years or more.

Just a hypothesis, but it’s quite possible that the shipments being referred to were sales that were made prior to any sanctions. I’m no expert on sanctions, but I’m wondering if prior orders could still be fulfilled and new orders were indeed stopped after the sanctions went into effect. It would not be out of the ordinary for a machine to be delivered up to one full year after ordering, given lead times these days.

In any case, there’s no denying that Haas and in particular the Gene Haas Foundation have made a significant positive impact in American technical and manufacturing education, and we all should be thankful of their support of FIRST Robotics. Stepping up to the plate to support programs like ours on the scale they do is something that many organizations and companies have had the chance to do, but very few have fully committed to at this scale.

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Let’s not pretend that Gene and his company were squeaky clean before all this happened…

And it’s not all that surprising to see Haas doing a lot of business in Russia given that their F1 team’s livery is literally just the Russian flag and one of their title partners on the car is a Russian gas company.

image

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Used to be. It’s not anymore. They dropped the sponsorship/livery when war happened. Still possible they have other connections though and dropping the sponsorship was a PR move.

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Asking because I really don’t know, and there are people reading this forum who might:

Should shipping machine tools to an organization that makes weapons for a foreign government, which is subject to US sanctions, be considered adherence to an enemy, giving them aid and comfort? Was just reviewing US Constitution, Article 3, Section 3, Clause 1.

Let’s not act like the US is squeaky clean…It’s not like we sell weapons to “enemy” countries right? There’s no way we’d give weapons to a country who exports terrorism to the United States.

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And the owner of that gas company was reportedly in a meeting with a certain Russian dictator on the day of the Ukraine invasion…

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Read the article - may have interpreted it wrong, but it looks like HAAS shipped machines to fill orders that were placed prior to Sanctions / Export Embargo, so it’s entirely possible that what they did was technically legal? (It all depends on how the timing of the sale is interpreted - if one argues that the sale happens at the point that the order was placed, and product is delivered 6 months later… well a lot can happen in 6 months.)

More importantly - in the grand scheme of things, I’m sure HAAS isn’t the only one who got caught up in this - HAAS appears to have generally taken the correct actions, stopped selling in the specified market, etc. I’m sure if we dug enough, there are a bunch of other Machine Tool Manufacturers who are also going to get caught up in the same sort of situation.

Also, not to throw stones (as someone who spent 13 years working in Defense Related Industries) but most FRC teams have at least one or more Defense Related Sponsors. There’s no real way that any of us could say anything negative about HAAS (in this context) without also pointing the finger at one of those sponsors for some other situation.

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An accusation does not make it a fact. Proudly sponsored by Haas!

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One of the drivers was also the son of one of their main Russian sponsors but he was also dropped

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U.S. Exports are controlled by both the State Department (ITAR) and Department of Commerce (EAR). Short answer to your hypothesis is no, when a country gets put on the naughty list all shipments must stop, otherwise there will be big penalties for the company. Doesn’t matter when the order was placed. Companies doing business Internationally are generally well aware of these regulations, since the penalties are steep.

Will also note that which countries get on the list and for how long can be arbitrary, since it’s the executive’s (POTUS) discretion.

this was from the 2021 F1 season when they had Nikita Mazepin (son of the owner of the big Russian gas company) as a driver. as soon as the conflict started, they dropped both the driver and the sponsor and their livery changed.

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Seems like an odds on bet for a corporation to become enmired in a scandal is to become the title sponsor of an FRC game. Recall that almost exactly 4 years ago, Boeing had the 737 MAX crisis begin while being the title sponsor for Deep Space.

We’ve been here before…

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It’s important to note that Russia isn’t on the naughty list, certain individuals in positions of power and their associated companies are. We have targeted sanctions, not a complete embargo. As long as your paperwork and permits are in order there’s still over $1M/day of US exports to Russia.

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The IRS takes over 20% of the average American’s pay check every month. Gene Haas gives millions of dollars to education every year. Just wanted to put that into perspective.

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What does that have to do with the price of tea in Richmond, VA?

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Let’s be clear that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (part 1) was actually in 2014 with the annexation of Crimea, and Haas F1 ending their driver partnership and sponsorship after 2021 was likely because the money stopped flowing from Russia due to sanctions.

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This is going to be flagged into infinity but for the brief moment in time when it’s visible to other users I’d like to argue that we don’t need to publicly simp for billionaires.

Or as they’d say on Twitter; “he don’t know you, lil bro”.

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For future reference try and stick to the same metric when making these comparisons. 20% vs millions means nothing unless we know what the millions are as a % of Haas Gross

Mixing %'s and raw numbers is usually used to hide or make it difficult to compare.

Either way I’m not sure how this info relates to the topic

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