The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant on Friday for Russian President Vladimir Putin, on charges of war crimes. The move further isolates the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), both of which have refused to honor international sanctions and continue to work with Russia to promote companies tied to Putin.

ISO, led by Sergio Mujica, continues to permit Russia to participate in standards development committees, some of which are then used by the aerospace and military industries. ISO has also taken no action against the certification body Russian Register, which has been a staunch supporter of Putin, and which continues to use the ISO logo on its predominantly fake certificates.

Sergio Mujica is reportedly attempting to re-brand himself for future consideration as a candidate for the UN Secretary-General position, which will become available in 2027, but his increasing support of Russia may derail that effort.

The IAF, meanwhile, continues to refuse to honor its own declaration to uphold international sanctions against Russia, and continues to allow accreditation body members to issue accredited ISO certificates in Russia, and for companies specifically named in international sanctions, such as Gazprom.

The IAF’s Chair, Emanuele Riva, simultaneously works for the Italian accreditation body Accredia, which as recently as January re-accredited a Russian certification body, in violation of EU sanctions and international law. The European Union calls such acts a “serious criminal offense,” and the move exposes Riva to arrest and criminal prosecution.

The ICC move further emphasizes the rest of the world’s condemnation of Putin, pushing ISO and IAF into alignment with an increasingly tiny number of dictatorial nations, such as China, North Korea, and Venezuela. The overwhelming number of ISO member nations have denounced the Putin regime, pushing both organizations out of step with their various members.

ISO has refused to take action against Russia because it identifies China as a major player and market for its standards. For decades, ISO has allowed China to influence its actions, in order to improve the sale of ISO standards in that country.

The IAF has refused to honor sanctions largely because of the refusal by Riva to allow proper voting on the subject by IAF member representatives, presumably in order to protect the revenue earned by Accredia from its ties to Russia. Like ISO, the IAF has also shied away from condemning Russia due to deep ties with China. The Chinese executive Xiao Jianhua was the IAF Chair prior to Riva, and actively used the US-based organization to promote Chinese Communist Party trade policies. Xiao is said to still have a strong influence on the IAF.

Sample listing of current ISO certifications issued under JAS-ANZ accreditation in Russia, as of 19 March 2023.

JAS-ANZ, the Australian accreditation body, faces new scrutiny as well, as multiple certifications to sanctioned companies have been linked to their certification bodies. According to the official JAS-ANZ directory, there are currently 87 certified organizations in Russia bearing the JAS-ANZ logo, issued by the accredited certification bodies SGS Australia and SAI Global (now Intertek.) Intertek announced in late 2022 that it was closing its Australian operations to new clients, but continues to allow Russian firms to hold their SAI/Intertek certifications, in violation of international law.

Again, Riva and the IAF have done nothing to bring JAS-ANZ into compliance with its mandate for IAF members to honor sanctions or face ejection from the group.

Meanwhile, the IATF 16949 automotive scheme likewise appears to be tolerating key actors as they support Russia. An organization identifying itself as “Plexus Eurasia” claims to be an official branch of the IATF training organization Plexus International, and sells IATF 16949 training in Russia. That company uses the official Plexus logo. Oxebridge has reached out to the US office of Plexus to verify if the Eurasian operation is authorized to work on its behalf.

The International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), run by Israel’s Etty Feller, also continues to support Russia, refusing to disallow laboratory accreditations in that country. ILAC publishes joint rules alongside the IAF which govern both organizations’ activities, and are slated to merge later this year.

The US accreditation body ANAB has been reported by Oxebridge for OFAC violations, due to its role as the official accounting body for the IAF. Each year, officials from ANAB sign and submit the US tax returns on behalf of the IAF. Under US OFAC rules, companies that receive funds from sanctioned Russian companies could be prosecuted for money laundering. It is unclear what percentage of fees IAF receives from certifications issued in Russia, but the number is unlikely to be zero. The IAF’s 2020 tax return reported over $590,000 in revenue from “membership dues,” and the official IAF member registry includes bodies such as JAS-ANZ, as well as directly from Russia through IAF member s Rusaccreditation and the Scientific Technical Centre on Industrial Safety. Russian firms such as Gazprom would pay their certification bodies for the ISO audits, a portion of which is then sent to the IAF member AB, and then to the IAF itself, in Delaware.

Screenshot of IAF website as of March 19, 2023, showing Russian bodies still retain membership and, thus, pay dues to the IAF.


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