BIS Charges Aircraft Parts Smugglers

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Commerce and the Justice Department announced actions against an enterprise to ship aircraft parts to sanctioned carriers in Russia.

Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement, Matthew S. Axelrod today issued a Temporary Denial Order (TDO) against MIC P&I, LLC, a Florida company, Smartavia, a Russian airline, Intermodal Maldives, a freight forwarder, and two Russian nationals living in Florida, Oleg Patsulya and Vasilii Besedin. The TDO, available online, prevents these entities from diverting civilian aircraft parts to Russia.

Simultaneously, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed a four-count indictment in the District of Arizona. Patsulya and Besedin face charges of conspiracy to violate the Export Control Reform Act and money laundering violations, designed to advantage the Russi

The complaint reveals that the two Russians responded directly to requests for parts from the Russian airlines. Many of these airlines were already subjected to escalated export sanctions due to Russia's continued invasion of Ukraine.

To conceal the real identity of the customers and the source of payments, Patsulya and Besedin reportedly used intermediary companies and foreign bank accounts in third-party countries. They then approached U.S. aircraft parts suppliers, misrepresenting their customers and the final destination of the parts.

The complaint further alleges that in September 2022, Patsulya and Besedin journeyed to the District of Arizona. Their goal was to purchase export-controlled aircraft brake systems from an Arizona-based aircraft parts supply company.

Upon conviction, the defendants could face a maximum of 20 years in prison for violating the ECRA and another 20 years for conspiring to commit international money laundering.

These enforcement actions are part of an inaugural wave led by the Disruptive Technology Strike Force, a joint initiative by the Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice. 

"Today's coordinated actions underscore our determination to thwart Russian attempts to bypass our export controls to support their defense and civilian aircraft operations," aid Mr. Axelrod.