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US charges Estonian national with helping Russian military procure US technology

A gavel rests on a judge bench. (The Columbus Dispatch/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The U.S. government has charged an Estonian national with conspiracy related to the receipt of U.S.-made electronics by Russia’s government and military that endangered citizens in Ukraine and the United States.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York unsealed an 18-count indictment against Andrei Shevlyakov on April 5, according to a press release issued by the office.

The 45-year-old, who was arrested on March 28 in Estonia, was on a U.S. list of banned importers and is alleged to have used front companies and fake names to skirt the restrictions.

“For more than a decade, the defendant has been acquiring sensitive electronics from U.S. manufacturers on behalf of the Russian government, in defiance of U.S. export controls,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace.

Shevlyakov is accused of procuring electronics, including radar components, from U.S. manufacturers on behalf of Russian defense contractors and government agencies. The indictment said that Shevlyakov’s communications with Russia-based customers included explicit mention of “military” goods.

Shevlyakok allegedly operated an “intricate logistics operation” that required frequent smuggling trips by him and others across the Russian border to deliver the goods. A shipment bound for Estonia containing 130 kilograms of radio equipment was seized at the time of Shevlyakov’s arrest, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Shevlyakov is also accused of attempting to procure computer-hacking software developed in the United States.

If convicted, Shevlyakov faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

The United States and other countries maintain strict export controls limiting Russia’s access to technology and other resources that can support its defense industry.

Shevlyakov was listed on the U.S. Commerce Department’s “Entity List” designating individuals and companies barred from exporting items from the United States without a license in 2012.