December 14, 2022

US indicts five Russian nationals for engaging in scheme to procure US-origin items for Russian military

On December 12, 2022, the US Department of Justice announced that a 16-count superseding indictment had been unsealed in  US District Court for the Eastern District of New York charging five Russian nationals — Yevgeniy Grinin, Aleksey Ippolitov, Boris Livshits, Svetlana Skvortsova and Vadim Konoshchenok — with conspiracy, money laundering and sanctions evasion.  Federal prosecutors allege that the five Russian nationals were part of a global procurement and money laundering network directed by.  As alleged in the indictment, the defendants procured advanced electronic components and sophisticated testing equipment for Russia’s military-industrial complex and research and development sector.  Konoshchenok, a suspected intelligence officer in Russia’s Federal Security Service, was arrested in Estonia in early December after Estonian authorities recovered approximately 375 pounds worth of US-origin ammunition in a warehouse that Konoshchenok used.  Alexey Braymen, a permanent resident in the United States, and Vadim Yermolenko, a US citizen, have also been arrested, while Grinin, Ippolitov, Livshits and Skvortsova remain at large,.  

According to the indictment, the defendants were affiliated with two Moscow-based companies, Serniya Engineering and Sertal LLC, which operate under the direction of Russian intelligence services and have an established network of shell companies and bank accounts around the world, including in the United States.  Federal prosecutors allege that the defendants used this network to unlawfully purchase and ship certain highly sensitive and heavily regulated items from the United States to Russia in an effort to hide the Russian government’s involvement and conceal the location of the end users in Rusisia.  The items obtained were military-grade and dual-use technologies that can be used to develop nuclear and hypersonic weapons, quantum computing and other military and space-based applications. 

Multiple members of the procurement network, including Serniya, Sertal, defendant Yevgeniy Grinin and several companies used in the scheme, were sanctioned by the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) and the Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) following Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.  For this reason, conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), and conspiracy to violate the Export Control Reform Act (ECRA) are among the charges levied against the defendants.  Other charges include money laundering and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.

DOJ Press Release | Unsealed Superseding Indictment | Detention Memo