May 3, 2024

New York resident pleads guilty for efforts to procure components used in the production of drones for Russia

On April 30, 2024, Russian national Nikolay Grigorev pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States, in connection with his role in a scheme to obtain over $250,000 worth of sensitive electronic components from U.S. companies for Russian end users affiliated with the Russian military.  As part of his plea, Grigorev admitted that, between 2021 and 2022, he conspired to supply a Russia-based company with U.S.-origin, dual-use technologies for use in the production of drones, in willful violation of U.S. export controls and sanctions laws.  Grigorev is scheduled to be sentenced on August 14, 2024.

Grigorev was arrested in November 2023 for his role in the procurement scheme.  Grigorev’s co-defendants, Nikita Arkhipov and Artem Oloviannikov, remain at large.  According to the indictment, Grigorev used Quality Life Cue LLC (“QLC”), a Brooklyn-based entity that he and Oloviannikov controlled, to procure dual-use electronic components for Russian entities involved in the development and manufacture of drones for the Russian military.  Grigorev allegedly used QLC email accounts to exchange messages with his co-defendants surrounding an order for sensitive electronic components and how to circumvent U.S. export restrictions.  Grigorev, through a QLC bank account, also allegedly received more than $270,000 in wire transfers from OOO SMT-iLogic, a Russia-based technology company, to pay an unnamed Brooklyn-based electronics distributor, and to cover Grigorev’s related credit card transactions.

SMT-iLogic was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control in May 2023 for serving as part of the supply chain for military drones used in Russia’s war against Ukraine.  A  search warrant issued for Grigorev’s Brooklyn residence led to the seizure of more than 11,500 electronic components.

DOJ Press Release | Unsealed Indictment | Docket – Minute Entry