Four individuals were arrested, and an indictment and criminal complaint were unsealed this week regarding two separate conspiracies to unlawfully export controlled, dual-use technologies to Russia.
October 31, a criminal complaint was unsealed, and a Brooklyn, New York, resident and two Canadian nationals were arrested in connection with a global procurement scheme in which the defendants used two corporate entities registered in Brooklyn to unlawfully source and purchase dual-use electronics on behalf of end-users in Russia, including companies affiliated with the Russian military.
Some of the electronic components and integrated circuits shipped by the defendants are the same make, model, and part number that have been found in seized Russian weapons platforms and signals intelligence equipment in Ukraine.
Separately, a Brooklyn resident was arrested, and a four-count indictment was unsealed alleging an illegal exports scheme to procure dual-use electronic components for entities in Russia involved in the development and manufacture of drones for the Russian war effort in Ukraine.
“In the past two days alone, the Justice Department and its law enforcement partners have arrested and charged multiple individuals accused of perpetrating sophisticated schemes to unlawfully acquire, conceal, and ship U.S. electronic components on behalf of the Russian defense industry,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “The National Security Division is committed to holding accountable individuals who would defy U.S. law in support of Russian aggression in Ukraine.”
According to court documents, Nikolay Goltsev, 37, of Montreal, Canada; Salimdzhon Nasriddinov, 52, of Brooklyn; and Kristina Puzyreva, 32, of Montreal, Canada are charged in a sanctions evasion and export control scheme, in which millions of dollars’ worth of semiconductors, integrated circuits and other dual-use electronic components were unlawfully exported to Russia through two Brooklyn front companies.
Nasriddinov, a Brooklyn resident and dual citizen of Russia and Tajikistan, was arrested on Oct. 31 in Brooklyn. Goltsev and Puzyreva were arrested at a hotel in Manhattan on Oct. 31 during a trip to New York to visit Nasriddinov.
As alleged, the defendants used two corporate entities registered in Brooklyn – SH Brothers Inc. and SN Electronics Inc. – to facilitate the scheme and unlawfully source, purchase, and ship millions of dollars’ worth of dual-use electronics from U.S. manufacturers to sanctioned end-users in Russia. Many of the electronic components and integrated circuits shipped by the defendants through SH Brothers were, according to the Department of Commerce “of the highest concern due to their critical role in the production of advanced Russian precision-guided weapons systems, Russia’s lack of domestic production, and limited global manufacturers.”
According to the complaint, some of the electronic components and integrated circuits shipped by the defendants through SH Brothers are the same make, model, and part number that have been found in seized Russian weapons platforms and signals intelligence equipment in Ukraine, including the Torn-MDM radio reconnaissance complex, the RB-301B “Borisoglebsk-2” electronic warfare complex, the Izdeliye 305E light multi-purpose guided missile, the Vitebsk L370 airborne counter missile system, Ka-52 helicopters, Orlan-10 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and T-72B3 battle tanks.
During the period charged in the complaint, SH Brothers made hundreds of shipments valued at over $7 million to Russia.
As alleged, Goltsev received orders from Russian end-users in the defense and technology sectors who sought to acquire a particular item or part from the United States. Goltsev then communicated directly with U.S. manufacturers and distributors, typically using aliases such as “Nick Stevens” or “Gio Ross.” Nasriddinov and Goltsev purchased electronic components from U.S. manufacturers and distributors under the auspices of SH Brothers and SN Electronics and arranged for the items to be sent to various locations in Brooklyn. Nasriddinov and Goltsev then unlawfully shipped the items to a variety of intermediary corporations located in other countries, including Turkey, Hong Kong, India, China, and the United Arab Emirates, where they were rerouted to Russia. Puzyreva operated numerous bank accounts and conducted financial transactions in furtherance of the scheme.
As described in the complaint, the defendants were aware that the electronics being exported had potential military applications. For example, in a November 2022 message exchange between Nasriddinov and Goltsev, Goltsev commented how shipping to Russia had become “dangerous” and discussed a shipment of electronic components that had been detained by U.S. officials at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Nassridinov responded that “Ukrainians alleged that they’re being bombed from parts from there [the U.S. manufacturer], maybe that’s why they started investigating everything?” Goltsev responded that, “we need to figure out why they keep holding the package ... I don’t really understand how they figured [it] out.”
In a subsequent message, Goltsev commented that, “in the future we will need to load from several companies, not to attract attention ... for now large packages will be dangerous until we understand what they figured out ... we will need to think of diversifying the load ... so that not everything is not moving from the same deck.” Additionally, in a February 2023 message, Nasriddinov wrote to Goltsev, “Happy Defender of the Fatherland,” referring the holiday in Russia and parts of the former Soviet Union celebrating those who served in the armed forces. Goltsev responded, “happy holiday to you too my friend, we are defending it in the way that we can [smile emoji].”
A seperate four-count indictment was unsealed October 31, charging a Brooklyn man and two Russian nationals with conspiracy and other charges related to an export control scheme to benefit companies affiliated with the Russian military.
Nikolay Grigorev, a Brooklyn resident, was arrested on November 1, 2023. Nikita Arkhipov and Artem Oloviannikovv, of St. Petersburg, remain at large.
As alleged in the indictment and other court filings, the defendants utilized a Brooklyn-based corporate entity, Quality Life Cue LLC (QLC), to facilitate the export control scheme. QLC was registered and controlled by Grigorev and Oloviannikov, with Arkhipov utilizing a QLC email account from Russia. Through QLC, the defendants procured dual-use electronic components for entities in Russia involved in the development and manufacture of drones for the Russian war effort in Ukraine.
“As alleged, these defendants conducted a sophisticated scheme, violating American sanctions in order to fuel Russia’s war effort,” stated United States Attorney Breon Peace. “In Brooklyn and around the world, our Office will not rest in making sure that military technologies do not fall into the wrong hands.”
“Sanctioned dual-use electronic components intended for the Russian military were allegedly obtained and exported by the defendants. Export control laws are put in place to defend our national security and any violation of these laws is extremely serious. FBI New York will ensure that anyone responsible for evading these laws is punished in the criminal justice system,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Smith.
The most notable of these entities is SMT-iLogic, a Russia-based technology company. SMT-iLogic is associated with an entity known as the Special Technology Centre (STC). STC is a Russia-based entity that was added to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Person List (SDN List) on or about December 29, 2016, for assisting the foreign military intelligence agency of Russia’s armed forces, commonly known by the acronym “GRU,” in conducting signals intelligence operations.
According to public reporting, SMT-iLogic shares an address with STC in St. Petersburg, Russia, was founded by a top Russian scientist and major shareholder of STC, and has imported millions of dollars’ worth of electronics into Russia. On or about May 19, 2023, SMT-iLogic was also added to the SDN List. Per OFAC, SMT-iLogic “is known to be involved in the supply chain for producing Russian military UAVs used in Russia’s war against Ukraine.”
On or about January 4, 2017, STC was added by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) to the Entity List for supporting the GRU. STC was involved in the production of the “Sea Eagle Orlan 10 UAV,” a drone vehicle that has been involved in Russian military operations in Ukraine. STC’s biggest customer, according to the same reporting, is Russia’s Ministry of Defense, which paid STC the equivalent of nearly $99 million between February and August of 2022.
As alleged in the indictment and other court filings, between October 22, 2021 and February 22, 2022, QLC accounts controlled by Grigorev received wire transactions from iLogic totaling approximately $272,830.40. These funds were used almost entirely to make payments to a Brooklyn-based electronics distributor (the “Brooklyn Company”) or pay Grigorev’s credit cards, which he used to buy goods from the Brooklyn Company.
Email and chat communications among the defendants explicitly reference efforts to circumvent U.S. sanctions, use “test” or “fictitious” orders to test new supply lines to Russia, and discuss front companies in third countries. In June 2023, a court-authorized search warrant of Grigorev’s residence in Brooklyn successfully interdicted over 11,500 electronic components purchased from the Brooklyn Company that were awaiting unlawful export to Russia.
November 7, The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security), issued a Temporary Denial Order (TDO) suspending the export privileges of the seven persons and three companies named in the indictments.
TDOs are significant protective administrative measures issued by BIS that cut off not only the right to export items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) from the U.S., but also the ability to receive or participate in exports from the United States or reexports of items subject to the EAR. The Assistant Secretary’s order denies all of the export privileges described in part 764 of the EAR, which include (but are not limited to) applying for, obtaining, or using any license, license exception, or export control document, or engaging in or benefitting from such transactions, in order to prevent imminent violations of the EAR.
The TDO is available online here.