US trial convicts trio of high-tech exports to Russia

Two men and a woman were convicted at trial in New York on Monday of illegally exporting high-tech electronics from Texas to Russian military and spy agencies.

They were among 11 people charged in the United States in 2012 over a scam that allegedly illegally exported millions of dollars worth of electronics to Russia under the guise of civilian deals.

Five others have pleaded guilty, including the Russian-American businessman who owned the Arc Electronics corporation in Houston, Texas. The other three are in Russia and beyond the reach of US law.

Alexander Posobilov faces up to 185 years in jail, Shavkat Abdullaev 65 and Anastasia Diatlova up to 25 years for shipping electronics to Russian government agencies when sentenced by US District Judge Sterling Johnson.

Among the items shipped were devices used in military hardware such as radar and surveillance systems, missile guidance systems and detonation triggers, US prosecutors said.

"These defendants were key players in a sprawling scheme to illegally export sophisticated technology to Russia," said Robert Capers, US attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

"Through lies and deceit, the defendants and their co-conspirators sold over $30 million of microchips, much of which was destined for Russian military and intelligence agencies."

Russia's intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service, was one of those supplied with the goods, as shown in a letter from the FSB saying that microchips were faulty and needed to be replaced.

Posobilov, 61, Abdullaev, 37, and Diatlova, 41, were convicted of conspiring to and illegally exporting controlled electronics to Russia.

Posobilov, a US citizen along with Diatlova, was also convicted of money laundering conspiracy.

Many of the goods shipped in the scam from 2008 to 2012 are not produced in Russia domestically, US prosecutors said.

All three defendants worked for Arc.

Shortly before the trial, Arc president Alexander Fishenko pleaded guilty to all charges, including acting as an undeclared agent of the Russian government. He is awaiting sentencing.

Arc portrayed itself as a maker of traffic lights, and gave false information to manufacturers on the planned end-use of the electronics, and disguised the goods to avoid US export controls.

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© 2015 AFP

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