The accused are suspected of smuggling sensitive technology and money laundering, according to the Justice Department
Five Russian nationals have been charged in the US for “unlawfully” buying electronic equipment – including some which could be used for military purposes – as well as money laundering and attempting to defraud Washington, the country’s Justice Department announced on Tuesday. It added that two US nationals had also been charged in the case.
According to a statement published on the department’s website, the defendants are believed to have conspired to obtain military-grade and dual-use technologies from American companies for Russia’s defense sector and to smuggle sniper rifle ammunition, all in violation of US sanctions imposed on Moscow earlier this year over its ongoing military campaign in Ukraine.
The Justice Department further notes that some of the “highly sensitive and heavily regulated electronic components” allegedly acquired by the defendants could be used in the “development of nuclear and hypersonic weapons, quantum computing and other military applications.”
In its statement, the Justice Department suggests one of the defendants works for Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) while the others are affiliated with Serniya Engineering and Sertal LLC – two Moscow-based companies that the US claims operate under the direction of Russian intelligence services to procure advanced electronics for Russia’s military industrial complex.
Both companies, however, have denied having anything to do with the accused Russian nationals. “These are all sanction fictions. We have nothing to do with the people who appear in the news, nothing,” Serniya general director Sergey Ershov told RT, adding that his company was being dragged into this case for some unknown reason.
Both Serniya and Sertal were sanctioned by the US after Moscow launched its campaign in Ukraine. The US accused the companies and the people associated with them of being “instrumental to the Russian Federation’s war machine.”
The defendants could all face up to 30 years in prison if convicted. However, only three of the seven accused – one Russian national and two US nationals – have been apprehended so far.
December 14, 2022 at 07:48PM