Two Russian-Canadians living in Montreal were arrested in New York City on Monday on suspicion of illegally transporting $13.9 million worth of restricted technology to the Russian military.
Breon Peace, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said some of the parts the Montrealers obtained through front companies were later used in advanced Russian weapons systems and spy equipment found on battlefields in Ukraine.
Peace released a criminal complaint, identifying the two Montreal residents charged in the case as Nikolai Gortsev, 37, and Kristina Przyreva, 32.
A third Russian man, Salimzon Nasridinov of New York, was also charged.
“These defendants illegally exported millions of dollars in electronic equipment in support of the Kremlin’s ongoing attack on Ukraine,” said Ivan J. Alvero, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New York. I have doubts.”
The charges came after an extensive investigation by the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Prosecutors said Mr. Goltsev and Mr. Przyreva were arrested at an unidentified Manhattan hotel while traveling to New York to visit Mr. Nasridinov.
The suspects are charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, and other export control charges. Prosecutors say the trio thwarted an elaborate global procurement scheme and fraud aimed at overcoming technology export controls and sanctions imposed by the United States, Canada and other countries on Russia and its military after its illegal invasion of Ukraine. claimed to have done so.
Prosecutors allege that Mr. Goltsev, Mr. Puzyrev, and Mr. Nasridinov used two Brooklyn-registered front companies, SH Brothers and SN Electronics, to acquire technology and secretly guide it to Russia. There is.
The complaint and other court filings allege that some electronic components and integrated circuits of the same make, model, and part number that the defendants shipped through SH Brothers were used for Russian weapons platforms and signals intelligence seized in Ukraine. It is claimed that it was discovered on the device.
According to the US Department of Justice, these include a Russian Ka-52 helicopter, an Oran-10 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and a T-72B3 combat tank.
Other controlled components were found inside, including the Izdeliye 305E light multipurpose guided missile and the Vitebsk L370 air-to-air missile system. Components were also found in documents described as the Torn-MDM radio reconnaissance complex, RB-301B “Borisoglevsk-2” electronic warfare complex.
FBI Assistant Director James Smith said the evidence collected in the case highlights Russia’s willingness to ignore U.S. laws and use illicit procurement networks to provide military equipment. .
The indictment describes intercepted messages between the three Russians, who were fully aware that the electronic components they were purchasing and exporting had potential military uses; It suggested that U.S. authorities were suspicious of them.
Mr. Nasridinov and Mr. Goltsev allegedly used pseudonyms such as “Nick Stevens” and “Gio Ross” to purchase electronic components from U.S. manufacturers and distributors affiliated with front companies such as SH Brothers and SN Electronics. has been done.
They arranged for the goods to be shipped to various locations in Brooklyn. Mr. Nasridinov and Mr. Goltsev then illegally shipped the goods to various companies in other countries, including Turkey, Hong Kong, India, China, and the United Arab Emirates, and these intermediaries then forwarded the goods to Russia.
Przyleva, a woman, allegedly operated numerous bank accounts and conducted financial transactions in order to carry out the scheme.
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In an exchange of messages said to have taken place between November 8, 2022 and November 15, 2022 between Mr. Nasridinov and Mr. Goltsev, Mr. Goltsev discussed how “dangerous” shipping to Russia had become. He commented on the situation and discussed the shipment of electronic components that the United States has suspended. Employees at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York.
Nasridinov allegedly replied: “The Ukrainians claim that parts from there are being bombed.” [the U.S. manufacturer]maybe that’s why they started investigating everything?
Mr Gortsev reportedly responded: “We need to find out why they keep holding on to the package…I’m not sure how they thought.” [it] Outside. “
In a message dated February 23, 2023, Nasridinov allegedly wrote to Gortsev: “Happy, defender of the Motherland.” U.S. officials said it was a reference to a holiday celebrating those who served in the military in Russia and parts of the former Soviet Union.
Mr Gortsev is said to have responded: “Have a nice holiday to you too, my friend. We are defending this issue in every way we can.” [smile emoji]”
The U.S. attorney noted that the various charges in the criminal complaint are allegations, and that Mr. Goltsev and Ms. Przyreva are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
None of the evidence has been tested in court.
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