Criminal schemes involving Russian citizens who evaded sanctions and sent American technologies for weapons systems to Russia were uncovered in the United States, reports Justice Department.
Russians with ties to the Russian military illegally exported more than $7 million worth of semiconductors, integrated circuits and other electronics.
A Brooklyn, New York man and two Canadian citizens were arrested this week in connection with a complex global illegal procurement scheme involving two Brooklyn-based entities. In addition, on November 1, another Brooklyn resident was arrested. The detainees were engaged in the illegal sourcing and acquisition of dual-use electronics on behalf of customers in Russia, including companies associated with the Russian military. Some of the electronic components and integrated circuits sent to Russia have the same make, model and part number that were found in confiscated Russian weapons platforms and signals intelligence equipment in Ukraine.
“Protecting American technology and protecting innovation from foreign adversaries is of paramount importance to U.S. national security,” said FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate. “The conduct alleged in the charging documents represents a complete disregard for the safety of our country and our laws.”
“In the last two days alone, the Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners have arrested and charged numerous individuals accused of participating in complex schemes to illegally acquire, conceal and ship U.S. electronic components to the Russian defense industry,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Gen. Matthew J. Olsen of the Department of Justice's National Security Division."
According to court documents, Nikolay Goltsev (37, Montreal, Canada), Salimjon Nasriddinov (52, Brooklyn), and Kristina Puzyreva (32, Montreal, Canada) are accused of evading sanctions and export control regulations. They illegally exported millions of dollars worth of semiconductors, integrated circuits and other dual-use electronic components to Russia through two Brooklyn-based shell companies.
Nasriddinov, a resident of Brooklyn, a citizen of Russia and Tajikistan, was arrested on October 31 in Brooklyn. Goltsev and Puzyreva were arrested at a hotel in Manhattan on October 31 during a trip to New York to visit Nasriddinov.
They used two legal entities registered in Brooklyn - SH Brothers Inc. and SN Electronics Inc. – to facilitate a criminal scheme and the illegal search, acquisition and shipment of millions of dollars worth of dual-use electronics to Russia. Many of the electronic components and integrated circuits they supplied through SH Brothers were, according to the Commerce Department, "of greatest concern due to their critical role in the production of advanced Russian precision-guided weapons systems."
According to the lawsuit, some of the electronic components and integrated circuits sent by those arrested through SH Brothers were found in confiscated Russian weapons platforms and signals intelligence equipment. For example, in Torn-MDM, in the RB-301B “Borisoglebsk-2” electronic reconnaissance complex, in the light multi-purpose guided missile “Izdeliye 305E”, in the L370 “Vitebsk” airborne missile defense system, in Ka-52 helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) ) "Orlan-10" and in T-72B3 battle tanks.
During the period covered by the lawsuit, SH Brothers made hundreds of shipments to Russia, valued at more than $7 million.
Goltsev received orders from Russian customers in the defense and technology sectors who were seeking to purchase a specific product or part in the United States. Goltsev then communicated directly with American manufacturers and distributors, usually using aliases such as "Nick Stevens" or "Gio Ross." Nasriddinov and Goltsev purchased electronic components from American manufacturers and distributors under the auspices of SH Brothers and SN Electronics and arranged for the goods to be shipped to various locations in Brooklyn. Nasriddinov and Goltsev then illegally shipped these goods to various intermediary corporations located in other countries, including Turkey, Hong Kong, India, China and the United Arab Emirates. From there they were redirected to Russia. Puzyreva managed numerous bank accounts and conducted financial transactions as part of this scheme.
They knew that the electronics being exported could potentially be used for military purposes. For example, in a November 2022 exchange between Nasriddinov and Goltsev, Goltsev commented that shipping to Russia had become “dangerous” and discussed a shipment of electronic components detained by U.S. officials at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Nasriddinov responded that “the Ukrainians claimed that they were being bombed with spare parts from [the US manufacturer], maybe that’s why they started to investigate everything.”
Goltsev replied that “we need to figure out why they continue to delay the parcel” and “how they guessed.” In a subsequent message, Goltsev commented that “in the future we will need to ship from several companies so as not to attract attention, but for now large parcels will be dangerous.”
“Until we understand what they figured out, we will need to think about diversifying the load so that not everything is moving from the same deck,” he wrote in the message.
Additionally, in February 2023, Nasriddinov wrote to Goltsev “happy Defender of the Fatherland Day,” referring to a holiday in Russia and parts of the former Soviet Union dedicated to those who served in the armed forces. Goltsev replied: “Happy holiday to you too, my friend, we are protecting it as best we can.”
One more thing
Nikita Arkhipov, 39, and Artem Olovyannikov, 37, both of St. Petersburg, Russia, and Nikolai Grigoriev, 36, of Brooklyn, are charged with conspiracy and other crimes in connection with a scheme to export parts to companies linked to the Russian military. including SMT-iLogic. SMT-iLogic, a sanctioned Russian company, has been identified as part of the supply chain for the production of Russian military drones used in the war against Ukraine.
Grigoriev was arrested on November 1. Arkhipov and Olovyannikov remain at large.
They used the entity Quality Life Cue LLC (QLC) to carry out their illegal export control scheme. QLC was registered in Brooklyn and controlled by Grigorev and Olovyannikov, while Arkhipov used a QLC email account from Russia. Through QLC, they purchased dual-use electronic components, including semiconductors, for Russian enterprises.
Between October 22, 2021 and February 22, 2022, QLC accounts controlled by Grigoriev received electronic transactions totaling approximately $273 from iLogic. The money was almost entirely used to make payments to a Brooklyn electronics distributor or to pay off Grigoriev's credit cards, which he used to purchase goods from a Brooklyn company.
Email and chat correspondence between the accused directly indicates attempts to circumvent US sanctions. The scheme uses “test” or “dummy” orders to test new supply lines to Russia. The correspondence discussed shell companies in third countries, including Kazakhstan. In June 2023, during a search of Grigorev's residence in Brooklyn, police seized more than 11 electronic components purchased from a Brooklyn company. They expected to be illegally sent to Russia.