2 US citizens charged with conspiring to feed Russia’s ‘war machine’
Five Russian nationals and two US nationals were charged by federal prosecutors on Tuesday with conspiring to illegally procure millions of dollars worth of US-made military technology and travel to Russia before and after Ukraine’s invasion this year deliver.
The case, detailed in an indictment unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn, alleges the seven defendants were acting on behalf of two Moscow companies, Serniya Engineering and Sertal LLC, which prosecutors say operate under the direction of Russia’s intelligence agencies.
As of at least 2017, according to the indictment, the defendants used a global network of shell companies and bank accounts to acquire and ship to Russia advanced electronics and equipment used for “quantum computing, development of hypersonic and nuclear weapons, and other military and other uses.” space-based military applications.”
Among those items, according to the indictment, was a “chipset” made up of 45 advanced semiconductors; a $45,000 “low-noise cesium frequency synthesizer”; high quality spectrum analyzers for electronic testing; and expensive oscilloscopes and signal generators. Many are so-called dual-use devices that can be used for military or civilian purposes.
The illegal activities continued after the United States imposed sanctions on Serniya, Sertal and one of the accused, Yevgeniy Grinin, after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, according to the Justice Ministry.
When it announced the sanctions, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said those targeted played “a critical role in the Russian Federation’s war machine.” Breon Peace, the US Attorney in Brooklyn, repeated this language when announcing the indictment on Tuesday.
“Our office will not rest in its relentless pursuit of those who illegally acquire US technology to advance Russia’s brutal war on democracy,” said Mr. Peace.
In addition to Mr Grinin, a 47-year-old Moscow resident, the Justice Ministry identified the defendants as Alexey Ippolitov, 57, of Moscow; Boris Livshits, 52, a former Brooklyn resident now based in St. Petersburg, Russia; Svetlana Skvortsova, 41, from Moscow; Vadim Konoshchenok, 48, from Tallinn, Estonia; Alexey Brayman, 35, of Merrimack, New Hampshire; and Vadim Yermolenko, 41, of Upper Saddle River, NJ
The defendants face various counts of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering and could face up to 30 years in prison each if convicted on the most serious charges. Four of them remain at large.
Mr. Yermolenko, an American citizen, and Mr. Brayman, a permanent US citizen identified in court documents as an Israeli citizen, were charged on Tuesday.
Mr. Brayman was released on $150,000 bail and with conditions including surrendering his passports and wearing an electronic surveillance device. “Like all defendants, Mr. Brayman has a presumption of innocence,” said his attorney David Lazarus.
Mr. Yermolenko was released after posting $500,000 bail partially secured by his home. Nora Hirozawa, an attorney for Mr. Yermolenko at his indictment, declined to comment.
Mr Konoshenok, whom US authorities believe to be an official with Russia’s domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service, was arrested in Estonia last week and is awaiting extradition, according to prosecutors. Estonian authorities found 375 pounds of US-made ammunition during a search of a warehouse he had used, the Justice Ministry said.
Glenn Drossel contributed reporting.
https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/12/13/world/russia-ukraine-news/federal-prosecutors-say-2-us-nationals-and-5-russians-conspired-to-feed-moscows-war-machine 2 US citizens charged with conspiring to feed Russia’s ‘war machine’