4 Russians arrested in US on suspicion of smuggling electronics for Russian army

4 Russians arrested in US on suspicion of smuggling electronics for Russian army
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Three Russians who were recently accused of conspiring to smuggle electronics worth about US$7 million from the United States for the Russian army were arrested in New York on Wednesday, 1 November. Now other defendants from the Russian Federation have appeared on a separate charge in the same scheme.

Source: US Department of Justice, as reported by European Pravda 

Details: Salimdzhon Nasriddinov, 52, a dual citizen of Russia and Tajikistan who lives in the United States, and Nikolai Goltsev, 37, and Kristina Puzyreva, 32, who live in Canada, were previously accused of smuggling, conspiracy to violate sanctions, and conspiracy to commit fraud.

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At the same time, it was revealed that another indictment was made on four counts, alleging an illegal export scheme to purchase electronics for companies in Russia involved in the development and production of drones for Russia’s war against Ukraine.

The defendants in this indictment are three Russians: Nikita Arkhipov, 39, and Artem Oloviannikov, 37, both of St Petersburg, and Nikolai Grigorev, 36, of Brooklyn. Grigorev was also arrested in New York, while Arkhipov and Oloviannikov are at large.

These defendants used a Brooklyn-registered company, Quality Life Cue LLC (QLC), to purchase components for Russian drones for a Russian entity, SMT-iLogic, which is part of the Orlan-10 drone production scheme that the United States sanctioned in May 2023.

By February 2022, the Russians had transferred about US$273,000 to QLC accounts. Almost all of these funds were used to purchase the necessary electronics in Brooklyn. The defendants in the case also discussed how they could better evade sanctions against Russia, in particular through intermediaries in third countries.

In June 2023, after a court authorised a warrant, law enforcement officers searched Grigorev’s Brooklyn apartment and seized over 11,500 electronic components that were due to be exported to Russia.

The FBI and the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security are investigating the case.

Background: Last week, an entrepreneur was arrested in Germany on suspicion of supplying Russia with engines for Orlan-10 drones in violation of the sanctions regime imposed after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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