In the United States, a court has charged five Russians with purchasing military technology in circumvention of sanctions, among them an employee of the Russian FSB. Information about this appeared on the website of the US Department of Justice.
The indictment alleges that five Russians and two US citizens illegally purchased and exported highly sensitive electronic components, some of which could be used in the development of nuclear and hypersonic weapons. The defendants face up to 30 years in prison.
According to the Ministry of Justice, US citizens Alexei Braiman and Vadim Ermolenko, as well as Russians Evgeny Grinin, Alexei Ippolitov, Boris Livshits, Svetlana Skvortsova and Vadim Konoshchenko (he is considered an FSB officer) conspired and tried to obtain military technology from American companies. They planned to send them to the Russian defense sector. Including all of these individuals were smuggling ammunition for sniper rifles, violating the law and US sanctions, the Russians acted on behalf of the Russian government. The three accused are now in custody.
The Ministry of Justice clarifies that Russian citizens were associated with the companies Sernia Engineering LLC and Sertal LLC, based in Moscow. The companies operate under the guidance of Russian intelligence agencies to procure advanced electronics and equipment for the military-industrial complex and the research and development sector. They operated a vast network of shell companies and bank accounts around the world, including in the US, to hide the involvement of the Russian government.
So, the Russian Ippolitov received requests from Russia and passed them on to Grinin and Skvortsova, both of them were employees of the Sertal company. Grinin and Skvortsova helped finance operations and instructed Livshits to purchase goods from American companies. Livshits, a former Brooklyn resident, opened shell companies and bank accounts in New York to conduct transactions.
FSB officer Konoshchenok, in turn, shipped or personally transported goods purchased in the US from Estonia to Russia, including dual-use electronics and ammunition. On October 27, 2022, he was spotted at the Estonian border bringing semiconductors and other electronic components ordered by Livshits, as well as thousands of American-made 6.5mm sniper rifle bullets. On November 24, Konoshchenok was detained while trying to cross the Russian border with 20 boxes of cartridges. After the arrest, the Estonian authorities searched the warehouse belonging to his son and seized ammunition.
Western countries continue to supply semiconductors to Russia, despite sanctions, Reuters found out earlier in conjunction with the Royal Joint Institute for Defense Research. For this purpose, firms - "gaskets" are being created in Turkey and Hong Kong. Thus, from April to November, the United States and European countries supplied Russia with chips worth $777 million, including components from Intel, AMD, Texas Instruments, Analog Devices and Infineon.