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Press Release

President of Freight Forwarding Company Indicted for Allegedly Smuggling Goods from the United States to Russia

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A citizen of Belarus and lawful permanent resident of the United States has been indicted for allegedly smuggling goods from the United States into Russia without a license.

Kirill Gordei, 34, of Hallandale, Florida, was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States; one count of smuggling goods from the United States; and one count of export of a spectrometer, which is a commerce control item. Gordei was arrested on June 30 in Florida and made an initial appearance in the Southern District of Florida today. He will appear in federal court in Boston at a later date.

“As alleged, Gordei defrauded U.S. government export regulators and smuggled advanced scientific technology to Russian customers, placing personal profit over national security,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “The Justice Department will use every available tool to disrupt illicit supply chains used to illegally funnel sophisticated technologies to Russia and other hostile powers.”

“Freight forwarders play an outsized role in the export of items overseas and, accordingly, are expected to help uphold the law rather than subvert it,” said Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement Matthew S. Axelrod. “Here, Kirill Gordei — the president of a freight forwarding company — is alleged to have willfully evaded restrictions designed to degrade the Russian war machine by obfuscating the value and ultimate destination of a mass spectrometer.”

“By allegedly smuggling sensitive technology to Russia, Mr. Gordei undermined the critical framework established to protect national security,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Levy for the District of Massachusetts. “This case highlights the importance of enforcing export controls, especially regarding sensitive items on the Controlled Commerce List, which include technologies vital to scientific and industrial advancement. Our office will prosecute those who attempt to circumvent U.S. laws for personal or commercial gain, particularly when such actions have potential implications for global security.”

According to court documents, Gordei is the President of Apelsin Logistics (Apelsin), a freight forwarding company, located in Hallandale Beach, Florida. Apelsin also has an address in Russia and two websites, both of which are registered and hosted in Russia.

According to the indictment, on or about Aug. 11, 2023, Gordei allegedly falsely claimed that he was shipping an Orbitrap Exploris GC 240 Mass Spectrometer – an item that delivers high data quality and versatility to accelerate scientific discovery for academic and industry research and government and omics laboratories – to Uzbekistan when it was, in fact, destined for Russia.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, a series of stringent export controls were implemented that restrict Russia’s access to the technologies and other items that it needs to sustain its attack on Ukraine. As of April 8, 2022, license requirements for exports, reexports and transfers to or within Russia were expanded to cover the most sensitive items subject to controls on a Controlled Commerce List. The spectrometer, valued at over $600,000, was on the Controlled Commerce List and required a license from the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) to export to Russia.

If convicted, Gordei faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for the conspiracy charge; up to 20 years in prison, five years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine for the unlawful exports charge; and up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine for smuggling goods from the United States. A U.S. district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The Commerce Department’s BIS is investigating the case. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Marshals Service and Transportation Security Administration provided valuable assistance.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura J. Kaplan for the District of Massachusetts is prosecuting the case with assistance from Trial Attorney Christopher Magnani of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.

This action was coordinated through the Disruptive Technology Strike Force, an interagency law enforcement strike force co-led by the Departments of Justice and Commerce designed to target illicit actors, protect supply chains and prevent critical technology from being acquired by authoritarian regimes and hostile nation-states. Under the leadership of the Assistant Attorney General of the National Security Division and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement, the Strike Force leverages tools and authorities across the U.S. government to enhance the criminal and administrative enforcement of export control laws.

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated July 2, 2024

Export Control
Press Release Number: 24-840