Two Canadians accused of supplying tech to aid Russian war effort

Trio shipped more than 300 restricted electronics valued at about $13.8 million to the ‘Russian battlefield,’ authorities say

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Three people, including two Canadian nationals, are accused of providing U.S. technology worth millions to the Russian military.

Salimdzhon Nasriddinov, 52, Kristina Puzyreva, 32, and Nikolay Goltsev, 37, were charged in U.S. federal court with conspiracy, wire fraud and other charges relating to an alleged scheme to procure U.S. technology on behalf of sanctioned Russian companies.

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Puzyreva and Goltsev, both Montreal residents with dual citizenship in Russia and Canada, were arrested in a Manhattan hotel on Tuesday.

“The defendants evaded sanctions, shipping equipment to Russia vital for their precision-guided weapons systems, some of which has been used on the battlefield in Ukraine,” Breon Peace, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement.

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The trio shipped more than 300 restricted electronics valued at about $13.8 million to the “Russian battlefield” in a one-year period, Ivan J. Arvelo, a special agent with Homeland Security added.

Some of those components were later found in Russian tanks, guided missiles, helicopters and other equipment recovered in Ukraine, according to court documents.

The alleged scheme involved two Brooklyn-based companies, SH Brothers Inc. and SN Electronics Inc. The companies were used to unlawfully source, purchase and ship dual-use electronics manufactured in the U.S. such as semi-conductors and integrated circuits.

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Russian defence and technology sectors gave Goltsev orders to acquire specific items or parts from the U.S., prosecutors said. Goltsev used aliases such as “Nick Stevens” or “Gio Ross” to directly communicate with U.S. manufacturers to acquire various parts.

The illegally exported items were routed to “intermediary corporations” based in Turkey, Hong Kong, India, China and the U.A.E before arriving in Russia, according to prosecutors.

“The defendants were aware that the electronics being exported had potential military applications,” they noted.

After a shipment was seized by authorities at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Goltsev texted Nasriddinov that shipping to Russia had become “dangerous” in Nov. 2022, court documents show.

“We need to figure out why they keep holding the package … I don’t really understand how they figured (it) out,” he added.

On Feb. 23, Nasriddinov texted Goltsev “Happy Defender of the Fatherland,” a holiday in Russia and parts of the former Soviet Union to celebrate the armed forces.

Goltsev replied to this with a smile emoji, writing “We are defending it in the way that we can.”

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The shipments were crucial due to “Russia’s lack of domestic production, and limited global manufacturers,” the U.S. Department of Commerce said.

Following its invasion of Ukraine in Feb. 2022, Western countries including the U.S. and Canada placed restrictions on exporting and supplying micro-processors, circuits and programmable devices to Russia.

“In Brooklyn and around the world, our Office is vigilant in making sure that military technologies do not fall into the wrong hands,” Peace said.

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