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US Citizen Admits Smuggling Electronics to Russia - Department of Justice
June 12, 2015 13:12

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A US citizen admitted smuggling microelectronics components into Russia in violation of export control laws, facing around 20 years in jail, says a press release by the US Department of Justice.
Moscow-born Alexander Brazhnikov Jr., 36, “pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William J. Martini in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, one count of conspiracy to smuggle electronics from the United States, and one count of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA),” according to the statement available on the DoJ official website.
“As he admitted in court, Brazhnikov was responsible for nearly 2,000 illegal shipments of regulated, sensitive electronics components, many of which wound up in the hands of Russian military and security forces,” U.S. Attorney Fishman said.
In total, he smuggled $65 million worth of electronics “thereby enhancing the capabilities of the Russian Intelligence Service, and contributing to the modernization of  both the Russian Military Service and the Russian Nuclear Weapons Program,” Richard M. Frankel, FBI Special Agent in Charge, Newark, said.
According to the statement, Brazhnikov was arrested at his home on June 26, 2014, following a joint investigation by the FBI, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
“From January 2008 through June 2014, he was the owner, chief executive officer, and principal operator of four New Jersey microelectronics export companies, each of which were used in the various conspiracies uncovered by the investigation. Following his arrest, special agents seized $4,075,237 in proceeds related to the charged offenses, as well as real property and other assets valued at more than $600,000,” reads the press release.
“The defendant conspired with his father, Alexander Brazhnikov Sr., owner of a Moscow-based procurement firm whose agents helped initiate the purchase of electronics components from United States vendors and manufacturers on behalf of the conspirators’ clients in Russia.  Brazhnikov Jr. finalized the purchase and acquisition of the requested components from the various distributors, then repackaged and shipped them to Moscow,” says the statement.
“He routinely falsified the true identity of the end-user of the components and the true value of the components in order to avoid filling out required export control forms,” it goes on to say.
“The network’s creation and use of dozens of bank accounts and shell companies abroad was intended to conceal the true sources of funds in Russia.” 

Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 15, 2015. You can read the full indictment here. 

Author: Mikhail Vesely


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