Several foreign nationals have been accused of allegedly plotting to send military technology to Russia



CNN

Ministry of Justice The charges announced On Wednesday, against nearly a dozen people and two companies in connection with illegal schemes to send military technology to Russia, some of which was allegedly recovered from the battlefields in Ukraine.

In a statement, the ministry said that some of the accused also tried to send “nuclear proliferation technology” to Russia, but it was intercepted before it could arrive.

“These accusations reveal two separate global schemes to violate US export laws and sanctions, including by shipping sensitive military technologies from US manufacturers — including types found on Russian arms platforms confiscated in Ukraine — and attempting to re-export an automated system with applicability in Nuclear proliferation “and Russia’s defense programs,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

“As I have said, investigators and prosecutors will make relentless efforts to locate, locate and prosecute those whose unlawful actions undermine the rule of law and enable the Russian regime to continue its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine,” Garland said. .

The indictments are the latest law enforcement action taken with the help of the ministry’s KleptoCapture task force, which was announced earlier this year as part of an effort to impose sanctions on Russian government officials and oligarchs.

The charges were contained in two separate indictments that outlined two different plans to transfer weapons technology and other goods to Russia.

One indictment, filed in New York, accused five Russian citizens and two Venezuelan oil brokers of creating a network of shell companies to illegally send US military technology to Russia and millions of barrels of Venezuelan oil to Russian and Chinese buyers, and bypassing US sanctions. .

In at least one letter that prosecutors have highlighted, a Russian citizen admitted that he was acting on behalf of the Russian oligarchy under US sanctions, claiming that he wrote oligarchs “subject to sanctions too. That’s why we [are] acting from this company. as an interface.

To complete the transactions, prosecutors said, the defendants forged shipping documents and ran tens of millions of dollars through bank accounts they set up in the names of fictitious companies. One of the defendants allegedly boasted about how easy it was to deceive banks, saying that “there is no need to worry…this is the best bank in the UAE”.

The Justice Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that two Russians had been arrested abroad and were due to undergo extradition proceedings. All seven defendants face several charges of conspiracy. Five defendants accused of conspiracy to bank fraud linked to the oil smuggling scheme could face more than 30 years in prison.

They have yet to file a formal petition, and the defendants’ attorneys have not yet been placed on the public agenda.

In a second indictment, in cooperation with Latvian authorities, US officials intercepted a piece of equipment originally manufactured in Connecticut, destined for Russia, that has applications “in nuclear proliferation and defense programs,” according to the Department of Justice.

The Justice Department said four individuals — three Latvians and a Ukrainian residing in Estonia — face several charges for allegedly conspiring to smuggle the substance, a high-precision grinding machine, to individuals in Russia.

“The indictment alleges that these defendants attempted to smuggle an export-controlled, high-precision material to Russia where it could have been used in Russian nuclear proliferation and defense programs,” US Attorney Vanessa Roberts Avery of Connecticut said in a statement. “The danger caused by such behavior is profound.”

According to the Justice Department, the three Latvians were arrested on Tuesday in Latvia while the Ukrainian was being held in June, all at the request of the US government seeking their extradition. The indictment documents for the case have not been opened, and it is not yet clear whether the defendants have made a formal defense.

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