Russian Spies Still Exist, Apparently
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn announced this morning the indictment of 11 members of a Russian "military procurement network" operating in the United States, who allegedly have been shipping U.S. military technology to the former Soviet Union since 2008.
See the full indictment -- compliments of the U.S. Attorney's Office -- below.
According to the feds, the 11 people indicted illegally exported high-tech micro-electronics -- used for things like radar and surveillance systems, weapons guidance systems, and detonation triggers -- to Russian military intelligence agencies on behalf of the Russian government.
In doing so, the Ruskies "spun an elaborate web of lies to evade the laws that protect our
national security," Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said this morning.
The alleged ring-leader is 46-year-old Alexander Fishenko, a Russian national living in the U.S. since 1994. He became a naturalized citizen in 2003.
In 1998, Fishenko founded Arc Electronics, Inc. (ARC), which he based out of Houston. According to the feds, since 2002, ARC -- using JFK Airport as its principal port of export -- has shipped more than $50 million worth of military-grade micro-electronics to his Russian counterparts, who gave the technology to Russian intelligence agencies.
Because the materials can be used for military purposes, the micro-electronics are subject to strict government licensing restrictions. To get around the restrictions, the feds say Fishenko and his cronies would classify the items incorrectly to avoid getting hassled by the U.S. Commerce Department.
"For example, in order to obtain microelectronics containing controlled, sensitive technologies, Arc claimed to American suppliers that, rather than exporting goods to Russia, it merely manufactured benign products such as traffic lights," authorities said. 'Arc also falsely claimed to be a traffic light manufacturer on its Web site. In fact, Arc manufactured no goods and operated exclusively as an exporter."
Each of the defendants have been charged with conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Arms Export Control Act.
Additionally, Fishenko's been charged with acting as an unregistered agent of the Russian government.
If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison.
See the indictment below.