The European Commission on Friday proposed making the circumvention of the European Union's (EU) sanctions against Russia a criminal offense.
It proposes to establish the same level of penalties in all member states to close existing legal loopholes and increase the deterrent effect of violating EU sanctions.
It aims to establish "common basic standards" for penalties.
"Depending on the offense, the individual person could be liable to a maximum penalty of at least five years in prison; companies could be liable to penalties of no less than 5 percent of the total worldwide turnover of the legal person (company) in the business year preceding the fining decision," according to the statement.
"Violating EU sanctions is a serious criminal offense," it said.
Offenses will cover circumventing an EU restrictive measure that includes bypassing or attempting to bypass restrictive measures by concealing funds or concealing the fact that a person is the ultimate owner of funds.
The list of criminal offenses includes making funds or economic resources available to, or for the benefit of, a designated person, entity or body; failing to freeze these funds; enabling the entry of designated people into the territory of a member state or their transit through the territory of a member state.
The proposal will now be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council as part of the ordinary co-legislative procedure.