Cyril Gregory Buyanovsky, 60, of Lawrence, Kansas, the owner and president of KanRus Trading Company Inc., pleaded guilty today for his role in a years-long conspiracy to circumvent U.S. export laws by filing false export forms with the U.S. government and, after Russian’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, continuing to sell and export sophisticated and controlled avionics equipment to customers in Russia without the required licenses from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
“Buyanovsky admitted to a long-running scheme to smuggle sophisticated U.S. avionics equipment to Russia, doubling down to hide his actions after Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “Today’s guilty plea demonstrates the Justice Department’s commitment to cut off Moscow from the means to fuel its military and hold those enabling it accountable in a court of law.”
“The rejection of tyranny and the protection of democracy are among the foundational principles of the United States of America. Our country continues to hold steadfastly to these ideals,” said U.S. Attorney Kate E. Brubacher for the District of Kansas. “After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. government imposed export controls and sanctions to prevent the weaponization of U.S. manufactured technology against Ukraine in a conflict intended to usurp its right to sovereignty within its borders. As long as there are people who value greed and profit over freedom and justice, the U.S. Department of Justice will remain vigilant and investigate and prosecute these crimes.”
“Buyanovsky’s guilty plea serves as a reminder to those who defy U.S. law to support Russia’s aggression – know you will be held accountable for your actions,” said Executive Assistant Director Larissa Knapp of the FBI’s National Security Branch. “The FBI, along with our partners, works diligently to identify and prevent illegal transfers of sophisticated equipment to hostile nations and will pursue those who support such smuggling operations.”
“The diversion of controlled U.S.-origin goods and falsification of end user information for use by Russian end users will be vigorously investigated,” said Special Agent in Charge Aaron Tambrini of Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement Chicago Field Office. “Individuals will be pursued and prosecuted wherever they are located.”
According to court documents, as part of his guilty plea, Buyanovsky admitted that between 2020 and when he was arrested in March, he conspired with others – including co-defendant and former KanRus vice president Douglas Edward Robertson, 56, of Olathe, Kansas – to smuggle U.S.-origin avionics equipment to end users in Russia, as well as Russian end users in other foreign countries, by, among other actions, knowingly filing false export forms and failing to file required export forms with the U.S. government. In these forms, Buyanovsky and his conspirators lied about the exports’ value, end users and end destinations.
Buyanovsky further admitted that on at least one occasion in 2021, he and Robertson smuggled a repaired Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) to the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) by removing the FSB sticker from the device before sending the device to a U.S. company to be repaired and then reattaching the sticker before shipping the TCAS back to the FSB in Russia.
Buyanovsky further admitted that after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 and the U.S. government tightened export controls concerning Russia, he, co-defendant Robertson and other conspirators continued to purchase and export U.S.-origin avionics equipment to customers in Russia and took numerous steps to hide their illegal activity from law enforcement, including by lying to U.S. suppliers about the intended end users; shipping goods through intermediary companies in Armenia, the United Arab Emirates, and Cyprus; continuing to file false export forms with the U.S. government; and using foreign bank accounts in countries other than Russia, such as Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Cyprus and the United Arab Emirates, to funnel money from the Russian customers to KanRus in the United States.
In addition to pleading guilty, Buyanovsky consented to the forfeiture of over $450,000 worth of avionics equipment and accessories and a $50,000 personal forfeiture judgment. According to court documents, among the equipment that Buyanovsky forfeited was a pallet of avionics devices that was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection the day before Buyanovsky and Robertson were arrested.
On Dec. 7, as part of the U.S. government’s interagency efforts to dismantle Russian procurement networks designed to circumvent U.S. export controls and sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Department of Commerce added many of the entities and individuals involved in Buyanovsky’s illegal export scheme to the Commerce Department’s Entity List, which imposes specific license requirements on all listed individuals and entities.
As a result of today’s guilty plea, Buyanovsky faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison – five years for the conspiracy count and 20 years for the money laundering count. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 21, 2024.
Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, Task Force KleptoCapture Co-Directors David Lim and Michael Khoo, U.S. Attorney Kate E. Brubacher for the District of Kansas, Executive Assistant Director Larissa Knapp of the FBI’s National Security Branch, Special Agent in Charge Stephen A. Cyrus of the FBI Kansas City Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Aaron Tambrini of the Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement Chicago Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge John Johnson of the Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement Miami Field Office made the announcement.
The FBI and the Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement are investigating the case. U.S. Customs and Border Protection provided substantial assistance.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott Rask and Ryan Huschka for the District of Kansas and Trial Attorney Adam Barry of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section are prosecuting the case.
The investigation was coordinated through the Justice Department’s Task Force KleptoCapture, an interagency law enforcement task force dedicated to enforcing the sweeping sanctions, export controls and economic countermeasures that the United States, along with its foreign allies and partners, has imposed in response to Russia’s unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine. Announced by the Attorney General on March 2, 2022, and under the leadership of the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, the task force will continue to leverage all of the department’s tools and authorities to combat efforts to evade or undermine the collective actions taken by the U.S. government in response to Russian military aggression.